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Lord Spontaneous (Shivratri-Herath)

The esoteric form of Shiva as Swacchand Bhairava with his consort Agoreshwari is central to Kashmir Shaivism, writes Sunil Raina

Shivaratri, celebrated on the 13th day of the dark fortnight of the month of Phalgun, is also called Har-ratri or Herath in Kashmiri. The festival has great religious and spiritual significance as it coincides with the emergence of Shiva tattvas on the physical plane. Shiva, at the early dawn of human creation, thought of Shakti, and in her search, donned the form of 18-armed Swacchandnath Bhairava.

Shakti, frightened by this form of Shiva, cast a glance on a pitcher full of water, wherefrom emerged Vatuk Bhairava and Rama Bhairava to defend her. Shiva at that time changed his form to Jawalalinga. Amazed by Shiva’s new form, Shakti along with her defending bhairavas merged with the Jawalalinga. Since this event is believed to have taken place on triyodashi, Kashmiris celebrate Shivaratri on this day, whereas the rest of the country, celebrated the festival on chaturdashi when the linga was pacified.

The esoteric form of Shiva as Swacchand Bhairava with his consort Agoreshwari is central to Kashmir Shaivism, and has been in existence since medieval times. Swacchand Bhairava signifies the prakasha, or the light consciousness, and Agoreshwari signifies vimarsha or Self-awareness. Swacchanda — as the term is understood — means free, independent and spontaneous and is synonymous with Swatantra. Kashmir Shaivism says that nondual conscious freedom is the only freedom that exists where the union with the Absolute is singular, amounting to you being Shiva, and is not dual.

This esoteric form of Shiva is imagined and deified as:

lWhite, five-faced and wide-eyed lord.

lHe is adorned with serpents and wears a necklace of scorpions which is called gunas. The word gunas in Kashmiri means serpent; Kashmiri women wear gunas bracelets that have at their ends, two serpents or red scorpions gazing at each other. This is symbolic of his instantaneous play with the bonds of soul.

lHe wraps a lion skin around his hip and an elephant hide over his shoulders.

lHe wears a garland of skulls, has a black throat and 18 arms.

His consort, who sits on his right thigh, has the same characteristics. By the power of his autonomy, the lord manifests this form with the highest level of Shakti. The lord has done so to facilitate and allow aspirants to enter the light of impartible that is indivisible or nondual as there is nothing like this in appearance anywhere else.

He is wide-eyed. He is in Bhairava Mudra intent on liberation of souls. He is focused within. He neither opens nor closes his eyes. He is overflowing with consciousness and bliss and has three power tools: icchha or will; jnana or knowledge and kriya or action. It is with these tools that Swacchandnath Bhairava manifests this universe with his fivefold acts of shristi or creation, stithi or sustenance, samhara or dissolution, triodanha or concealing and anugraha or revealing.

lBy his act of shristi, he holds and nourishes the universe in a way that he manifests the universe on the panoramic canvas of his identity.

lStithi is the persistence, the moment in which the consciousness is immersed in its projected content.

lSamhara is retraction; consciousness reabsorbs the content it has projected, essentially turning it towards nondual essence.

lTriodanha is enfolding or concealing of creation with respect to time and space.

l Anugraha is unfolding or revealing projections in the manifest world.

With these fivefold acts, Swacchandnath Bhairava, along with Agoreshwari, create an animate and inanimate world, thus unleashing the divine play of reality. The world is nothing but the mirror image of Swacchandnath Bhairava, and to recognise this unity between the individual soul, is the purpose of a well-meaning life. Shiva spreads the nectar of creativeness; shields the jivatman from torturous transmigration; brings forth the inner consciousness by tearing apart the individual ego, which essentially is ignorance; terminates maya; binds the universe and brings forth bliss, which is unlimited.

The night of Shivaratri is essentially considered to bring supreme awareness of Shivahood on the physical plane among aspirants. It removes nonduality among the souls and pushes the seeker to the higher orbit of Self-realisation. The festival of Shivaratri is celebrated with grandeur and reverence in every Kashmiri Hindu household, where each family member observes a fast and contributes towards making this festival a great success.

 

Written by:-Sunil Raina

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LAL DED HAS NO LINKAGE WITH ISLAMIC SUFFISM

LALLA HAS NO LINKAGE WITH ISLAMIC SUFFISM
Prof. M. L. Koul

R.N. Koul’s book on Lalla Ded has in no manner thrown any new light on the historical times that provided background setting for the emergence of a personality like Lalla who by and large shaped a response to the challenge posed by the forces of religious intolerance and obscurantism. A mere superficial reference to the religious and political turbulence, that ravaged the Happy Valley does not explain it. The learned author could have taken a cue from Sir Richard Temple, who, despite his distortions and misinterpretations, has surveyed the total political and religious scenario to ensure a thorough comprehension of the shaping processes of Lalla’s mind and thought. ‘Orthodex’ ‘Brahmanism’ and ‘aggressive Islam’ (due to some fanatics) fall into a pattern of cliches in absence of a relevant exposition objective in approach and premise. ‘A tradition or cult engendered by Hindu mystics and Muslim Sufis’ needs a thorough and dispassionate discussion which the author has given a short shrift.
There are evidences galore to establish that Kashmir enjoyed a tremendous reputation for being an abode of rishis (rishi vatika) harbouring a strong and coherent indigenous tradition of rishi-cult with its root systems embedded in the vedic age. In terms of history, Sufism in its essence was absolutely foreign to Kashmir. It was introduced in the religious ambience of Kashmir by the Muslim proselytizers. Most of them sought protection in Kashmir when they were under persecution in their native lands for their indulgence in politics and affairs mundane. A Sufi owing affiliation to the Kubrawe sect of sufism imposed twenty humiliating conditions on Hindus. The learned author does not seem to be sure which Sufi-cult he is alluding to. Does he refer to the same sufis that have authorized the chapter of inconoclasm and religious strife in Kashmir’ He is perhaps led-into the belief of the existence of a mis-labelled Sufi-cult in Kashmir by the native rishis, are perpetuators of the mainstream native tradition bequeathed to them by Lalla and her galaxy of cultural progenitors having no linkages with the Islamic Sufisim of Central Asian vintage.
In the sub-title of the book the learned author has perhaps more wittingly than unwittingly re-introduced an Islamised name for Lalla Ded. A similar campaign was spearheaded at the inaugural function of Lalla Ded Hospital, which was initially christened as Lalla Arifa Hospital by the powers that be. A person sitting in the audience challenged the far-fetched and unhistorical references to Lalla Ded. The function presided over by Sheikh Abdullah was literally disrupted by the vigorous intervention of an old man leaning against his scaff. The Sheikh dithered under a wave of protest by a number of genuine intellectuals including Pt Jaya Lal Koul and Pt PN Pusp (professors of classical vintage) and ordered formation of a committee to have a second look at the Lalla Arifa nomenclature. On the recommendations of the committee the Islamised nomenclature was dropped again to be picked up by the learned author for a new dress up a revival for wayward reasons, may, opportunist considerations.
Lack of thorough grounding in the basics of Kashmir Shaiva monism (paradvya) is the Achile’s heel of the whole work which in fact has impaired the critical evaluation and treatment of the pithy vakhs of Lalla. It is a misnomer to call Trika Shastra as Kashmir Shaivism. Trika is a strand of Kashmir Shaiva monism and understandably a part cannot represent the entire thought model. It is equally relevant to point out that Kashmir Shaivism is not an apt name for the system which has pristine non-dualism as its cardinal principle. The deceptive no-menclature gained currency with the publication of JC Chatterje’s first doctoral thesis on the subject. ‘The theory and practice of Kashmir Shaivism’ in which Lalla was initiated by her preceptor, Siddha Shri Kanth, was neither dualist nor dual-cum-non-dualist, but essentially monist in assumptions. Sir Richard Temple has expressed an amazing grasp of the over-riding spirit of Lalla when he chracterised her as ‘Shaiva Yogini’. Had the learned author heeded his appraisal, he would not have digressed to recount all forms of yoga that have little relevance in Kashmir Shaiva monist thought. Patanjali Yoga stresses the regression of human senses and other natural proclivities. But the monist thought recognised their positive role in the processes of higher ascension through their sublimation and satiation. The yogic terms have been absorbed in the system but stand ruminated with new nuances of meaning and semantics. The word ‘Bindu’ originally known as ‘Vindu’ denotes unidifferentiated condition of infinite luminous consciousness supreme. ‘The mystic moon and the mystic sun’ carry three shades of meanings in sync with Shaiva Yoga methodologies of Shambava, Shakta and Anava. In Shambava methodology the mystic moon and the sun are representative combination of supreme luminosity (Prakash) and I-consciousness (Vimarsa). In Shakta methodology they imply Jnana and Kriya and in Anava methodology they denote prana and apana. The mystic sun also symbolises an inflamable energy that burns out meshes of duality. The mystic moon also refers to ‘apana breath’ deemed as cool and invigorating and the mystic sun alludes to ‘prana breath’ which is suffused with warmth. Sahasrasar is the repertoire of infinite consciousness in the being supreme. ‘Hamsa’ is derivable to ‘ham’ and ‘sah’, the former indicates the divine will of the Lord and the latter divine knowledge. In Swacchand Tantra ‘Hamsah’ is explained in the sense of ‘I am That’ symbolising’ undifferentiated and indivisible being. ‘Sushumna’ is known by other variants like brahma-nadi, madhya nadi or madhya-dham. Buit as per Shaiva-yoga in tersm transcendental it is known as all pervading Samvit-Shakti penetrating the sentient and insentient objects.In the classic work of Ishwarpratybijjna utpaldev has explicitly explained five forms of prana-shakti as prana, apana, saman, udana, and vyana (Ishwarpratybijjna, 3,2,19).
A systematic study of Lalla’s Vakhs as is deftly made by BN Parimu in his book ‘Ascent of self ‘ establishes that she had undergone all relevant processes of becoming to mature into the state of divine consciousness which in Shaivite parlance is known as ‘Shiva Samavesh’. When initiated she had to work out the practices recognised under Anava methodology like japa, vrata, niyam, dhyam, dharna for yoking the sensesinatured tendencies for entry into the Shakta grade for higher elevation. An initiate is certainly helped is under proper guidance he practises all the formulae which the learned author has huddled under, Hindu, ritealistic system’. After a seeker attains higher phases of consciousness, such methodologies become redundant and are of nouse. In sivastatravali, utpaldev has put:-
Na yoga nor tapo Nacharkrama koapi preniyate!
Amaye Shivamarge asmin bhakti eka prashyaste !!
Lalla was a witness to the turbulent times. She was honing up her thought and working out its actualisation by harnessing her body potentialities and inherent urges. She through her vakh “Shiva chuy thali thali rozan, mozan Heund ta musalman..” castigated the proselytisers not to differentiate between Hindus and Muslims and called upon them to take to the path of Trika (trial of para, parapara and apara) which would lead them to self-recognition (pratybijjna). As an initiated follower of Shiva monism she had learnt to rise above the distinctions of caste and religion and disseminated the message to proselytisors who advocated and practised conversions as cure to imaginary ills out of xenophobic considerations.
In his curious explanation of the Vakh ‘temple is built of stone as the stone he worships’ the learned author establishes her as a ‘trend-setter’ as he has decried the ‘false pantheon of Hindu’s and ‘their blind faith’ in finding God by ‘singing hymns to the stone lingam’. As Lalla was thoroughly grounded in the fundamental precepts and tenets of Shaiva monism planked on tantric assumptions, she could not subscribe to external forms of worship signifying duality notwithstanding their efficacy at initatory stages. ‘Shaiva Bakhti’ rejects daulism and focuses on Shiva pervading the worshipper, the worshipped and instruments of worship as the focal point of worship. Tantras have not accepted any form of external and ritual worship and as Kashmir Shaiva monism has tantric asumptions as its substatum, Lalla as an initiated practitioner of it could not but reject it in ultimate analysis. She has in no way rejected or decried the pantheon of Buddhist and Hindu Gods who as per her thought considered them as various manifestations of Citi (supreme consciousness). Before coming to a far-fetched conclusions, the author should have considered the following vakh:-
Shiva of Keshava or Jina
or Brahma, the lotus born Lord
May be remove from me
the sickness of the world!
It may be He or He or He
(For He is one though variously called)
J.L. Koul’s rendering.
That Lalla danced naked as put in an emotion-packed vakh and moved about naked as per a legend has evoked various responses from scholars who have written upon Lalla’s life and her poetical outpourings. Shanker Pandit, a scholar and practitioner, suggested to replace the word ‘nangaya’ (naked) by the word ‘nonguy’, said to be a flower growing wild on mountain slopes. The learned author, Koul, finds a lot of incompatibility in Lalla ‘moving about naked’ and ‘her incarnation as the ‘Muse of knowledge’ and more prcisely ‘as the Muse of poesy’. In his attempt at reconciliation he attributes it to her ‘miraculous powers’.
The fact about Lalla remains that she was initiated by her preceptor, a perfect soul, through the laconic metaphor of ‘turn your gaze within’ which like an alchemy metamorphosed her whole being. She became one with the Shiva consciousness in a manner of absolute synthesis. As freedom (swatnatrya) is an inherent attribute, call it nature, of absolute consciousness, Lalla in the same condition of consciousness cognised her self and true cognition lies in the realisation that pure undifferentiated consciousness is infinite freedom itself. It is the same stateof infinite freedom that is symbolised by Lalla singing that she danced naked in joyecstactic.
What is said above is corroborated by the statement about Shambhava, Upaya in Malinivijaya Tantra. That is said to be Shambhava-Samavesha which happens to one whohas attained freedom from all ideation by an awakening imparted by the guru (preceptor) or by an intense awakening of one’s own.
There are other inaccuracies and mis-statements littering over the book. Kashmir Shaiva monism does not consider ‘flesh’ i.e. human body as ‘dross’. It has given the body an utmost importance as it serves as a vehicle for purposes spiritual. Five bhutas have been stated as five senses. ‘Moha’ is translated as illusory pleasures. It should have been translated as delusory pleasurers as Kashmir monism does not subscribe tothe thesis of world as an illusion or chimmera. World as per its tenets is a manifestatino of Shiva. It,therefore, cannot be termed as illusory. Delusory implies all that which is taken for self, but falls withinthe ambit of ‘not’self’. Desires and other natural urges are not to be crushed to powerdish non-existence’ nor are these to be ‘burnt’. Kashmir Shiava monism advocates the sublimation and gratification of senses and desires which paves the wa to the final state of self-cognition.
The book is a good reading especially in the portions where inner theme of the Vaakhs has been elucidated. Such an attempt pioneers a new trend in the exposition of Lalla Book: Kashmir’s Hermat Poetess Lalla Ded Alias Lalla Arifa by R.N. Koul Pages 101, Price 150.

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

Kashmiri Pandits and saraswat Brahims

by P.N.K. Bamzai
Koshur Samachar

The Valley of Kashmir is known among the Kashmiri Pandits or Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir as Saradapeeth or the Abode of the Goddess of Learning and Fine Arts. During their five thousand years of history, they have made colossal contribution to world civilization in the field of Religion, Philosophy, Sanskrit literature, medicine, history, aesthetics, etc. As models of non-violence, they have never handled lethal weapons or spoken harsh words. Devoted to the study of Vedas and other Sastras in all their aspects, the essence of these studies has been coursing in their blood-stream from generation to generation. In peaceful or turbulent times they were protected under their spiritual umbrella by a large number of highly advanced saints and sages who flourished in the Valley from time to time.

No wonder they preferred death to change in their religion and withstood stoically the ruthless masters for five hundred years of Muslim rule. And when pushed back to the wall, they migrated to places of safety in the hot plains of India.

This process has been repeated in 1990 but on a vaster scale. Threatened with annihilation by Islamic Fundamentalists and gun-toting terrorists, the hapless Brahmins migrated en masse to Jammu and other places in the hot plains of the rest of India, leaving behind their hearths and homes, movable and immovable properties, their jobs and business, even the education of their children. The treatment they received from the State and Central Governments is perhaps the most bitter instance of this nature in the world. As refugees in their own country, their governments treated them with disdain. Instead of giving them comfort and solace, their attitude towards them was callous and inhuman.

How and wherefrom did the Kashmiri Pandits or Vedic Aryans enter and settle in the Valley is an interesting episode in the early movement of people from place to place.

The main theory about the Aryan settlement in Kashmir as advanced by Dr. Grierson was that they formed a part of the stream of Indo-Aryans from Central Asia, but did not share the migration to India via the Kabul River Valley to settle in the Punjab. They broke away from the mainstream while crossing the Hindukush and entering the Valley via Dardistan settled there.

But after deep research for the last 15 years the writer has come to the conclusion that Dr. Grierson’s Theory was erroneous. Actually they came to the Valley from the Punjab centuries after the first settlement of Aryans there.

Briefly speaking, the earliest stream of Aryans who entered India, found the banks of the River Saraswati in the Punjab fertile and conducive to easy cultivation, and settled there.

Described in the Rig Veda as “the mother of rivers”, scholars have debated for centuries whether Saraswati is a myth or has been a reality at some distant point of time.

Fortunately a team of archaeologists, geologists, geographers and historians led by the famous archeologist Dr. V.S. Wakankar, began their quest of the river in 1985. Armed with high-tech facilities like landsat and multi-spectoral scanner (MSS), the team began the quest from the believed source of the river at Adi Badri in the Shivalik Hills in Ambala They sieved through the whole area notably 150 prominent sites along the route in the Thar Desert ending at Somnath in Gujarat.

At the end of it all they had solid evidence to prove the existence of a highly developed culture on the banks of a mighty river which they say was Saraswati.

Apart from this evidence, the existence of a mighty river, matching the Vedic description of Saraswati, has been scientifically proved. The multi-spectoral scanner (MSS), a widely used and relied upon equipment in archaeology, indicates various channels of the river in the region.

According to MSS observations of various channels, Sutluj was the main tributary of Ghaggar (the present name for Saraswati, now in Pakistan). But tectonic movements forced Sutluj to flow in different direction (at right angle to its original channel), thus leaving Ghaggar dry.

A study of the landsat imagery of Ghaggar (Saraswati) reveals that the river had a constant width of six to eight kilometres from Shatrana in the Punjab to Marot in Pakistan.

The waters of the river spread prosperity all around and the settlers passed centuries there in peace, building well-planned towns and cities to live in. The Aryan society was by and by stratified into classes according to the kind of their work and profession or varna. But as ill-luck would have it, the life-giving river changed its course several times and ultimately dried up. Known as Saraswat Brahmins, Kshatryas and Vaisas, they left the Punjab in search of equally good if not better land in the rest of the sub-continent. An enterprising batch went back to the mountains in the north to reside in the Kashmir Valley of whose beauty and salubrious climate they had heard from their forefathers who used to go there during summer. They sought the protection of Nila, the Lord of the Nagas and begged his permission to settle in the Valley permanently as his subjects.

Nila listened to their tale of woe sympathetically, but promised the requested permission on condition that they conformed to the social usages and customs of the Nagas. The Saraswats agreed to these conditions when the Naga chief permitted them to reside permanently in the Valley.

Aryan Entry Into The Valley

At what point of time this important immigration into the Valley of Saraswat Aryans (comprising Brahmans, Kshatryas, Vaisas and Sudras) took place is not possible to say. However, the beginning of the Saptarishi or Laukika Era seems to be the time when the Sarswat Aryans entered into and settled in the Valley, after getting permission from Nila, the lord of the Naga tribe who were already settled there. The beginning of this era nearly coincides with Mahabharata war. The date of the coronation of King Yudhishtra is given as Kaliyug Samvat 653. Kalhana too begins the Rajatarangini from this time as is evident from the description of the installation by Lord Krishna of Queen Yasomati on the throne of Kashmir as the guardian of her son King Gonanda II.

The Saptarishi or Laukika era is still in current use among the Brahmin population of Kashmir. Buhler was the first to prove from the extant tradition of Kashmiri Brahmins and other evidence that the commencement of the Laukika Era is placed on Caitra Sudi 1, of Kali Samvat 25 (expired) or the year 3076-75 B.C. Since his discovery correct accounts of the Laukika reckoning are to be found in all handbooks of Indian chronology.

That the Kashmiri Brahmins have held on to and followed this calendar tenaciously for the last 5066 years is a strong point in favour of assuming their entry in the Kashmir Valley round about the beginning of this era.

The various exigencies of time and division of labour gradually differentiated the priestly Brahmins from other castes. And when the Saraswat Aryans entered the Valley, the Brahmins were in a dominating position and laid down rules and regulations for the other castes to follow in accordance with the agreement with Nagas. From that time begins the emergence of the Kashmiri Pandits or the Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir as a distinct community in the all-embracing comity of people called Hindus.

Profoundly learned, it was only the Kashmiri Pandits who were capable of expounding the Vedas, the Vedanganas, the Itihasas, the Puranas and the Mimamsa. They were well-versed in various orthodox and heterodox philosophic systems. Jurists, astrologers, mathematicians, poets and philosophers were from this community. Even the less educated among them did fairly well, for they could act as Kathavacaks or reciters of sacred stories and performers of various domestic rites. Sanskrit was their mother tongue and both men and women spoke it fluently.

Society took good care of the Brahmins, for they received land gifts and money. There is mention of many grants or agraharas in literature and epigraphs. Villages were transferred to the Brahmins with pastures for cows, with lands, water and trees, fruit bearing or otherwise.

A class that helped in the preservation of Dharma and contributed much to cultural progress, naturally enjoyed some privileges in a society dominated by it. Smritis and the Puranas speak of the Brahmins as being exempt from taxation and capital punishment. The ancient Dharmasastras lay down that a Brahmin should not be given any corporal punishment. Many other Smritis speak of exile as the maximum punishment for a Brahmin.

Education

The Saraswat Brahmins of Kashmir were models of simplicity, purity, truthfulness, ascetic tendency and compassion. All these traits of the highest human culture were built-up by Rishis and Maharishis who, in their secluded Ashrams performed austere penances and at the same time taught a large number of students who stayed in the Ashrams and led a life befitting Brahmin Brahmacharin. Thus the Guru-Shishya Parampara was established. The children of a house-holder lived with Acharyas (teachers) in the latter’s home. There they used to serve their teacher by gathering fuel for homa and offered morning and evening prayers. The recitation of the Vedic hymns with their proper accents, preceded by the syllable OM took place at day-break. Early morning was the time set apart for studies.

Consequently, Upanayan Sanskara, which literally means taking the child to the Guru, was the most important in one’s life. The Brahman, the Khatriya and Vaisa boys were initiated when they were 8, 11 and 12 years respectively. This initiation of a boy into the three R’s took place on an auspicious day in a festive atmosphere. Gods were propitiated, feasts arranged and presents offered to the teacher before entrusting the student to his care. A very disciplined life was laid down by the medieval digests for students receiving Brahmanical education. By the time the boy attained the age of sixteen years, he was expected to be the master of all sciences and arts.

The educational course naturally differed according to the needs of the student. A Brahmin learnt the four Vedas, the six Angas, the various scripts, Mimamsa, Smritis, Puranas, Karmakanda, Jyotish, Ganita, Music, Sciences, etc.

The education of a student did not end here. They took inspiration from the Rishis and Paramrishis who in their ashrams and seats of learning propagated gems of philosophy, art, literature and history. Apart from imparting education to hundreds of Kashmiri students, they instructed numerous scholars from distant lands, who braving long and arduous journey came to Kashmir to drink deep from the well of knowledge at the feet of the masters. No wonder that from remote ages Kashmir became the seat of learning, and earned for itself the appropriate name of Saradapeeth or the seat of Sarada, the Goddess of Learning and Fine Arts.

Apart from performing rites and rituals as prescribed by the Sastras, the Brahmin householder worshipped the Hindu Triad, namely Siva, Vishnu and Brahma and their Consorts – Parvati or Uma who has a variety of other names such as Kali, Durga, Mahadevi (the Consort of Siva); Sri or Lakshmi (the Consort of Vishnu) and Vagheswari or Saraswati (the Consort of Brahma)

In later times a special sect who were devotees and worshippers of Sakti – the manifestation of power and energy of Siva – came into prominence and were known as Saktas. Their rites and rituals and the mode of their performance differed basically from the mainstream of the Kashmiri Pandits.

The snow-capped mountain peaks around the Valley evoked the image of Siva with Ganga coming out of His locks and gushing down in streams to the plains below, spreading life all around. Hence, Kashmir has, from time immemorial, been known as the Land of Siva (Sivapuri). The worship of Siva and the study of Saivism is, therefore, a predominant theme in the religious and philosophic practices of the Kashmiri Brahmins. Though the Trikka philosophy popularly known as Kashmir Saivism took shape in the 8th Century A.D., Sivasana or Sivagama, that is Saivism as such, is far older than this date. Indeed we can trace its beginning in the Vedic Revelations.

The origin of the earliest works on Saivism in Kashmir is lost in antiquity. It is said that originally there were sixty-four systems of philosophy covering every aspect of thought and life, but they all gradually disappeared and the world was plunged into spiritual darkness. Then Siva, goes the legend, moved by pity for the ignorance and sufferings of mankind, appeared on the Kailasa mountain in the form of Srikantha. He commanded the sage Durvasa to spread true knowledge among men. Durvasa created three sons by the power of his mind and to one of these, Tryambaka, he imparted the knowledge of monistic philosophy.

So Brahmanism diluted with the animistic faith of the indigenous Nagas and influenced by the Saivite faith, formed the religion of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley from their settlement there till the appearance of Emperor Asoka in the middle of 300 B .C. along with a contingent of 5000 Bikshus whom he settled in the Valley to study and propagate Buddhism.

the dark side of religions…

Religions-The other perspective

 

Light can not be without darkness, Happiness can not be without sorrow, Good can not be without Bad…Everything has  a different side, which we often try to oversee and neglect…God and religions is also one such thing.

All the religions have their base on social injustice and violence. Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross…which by any standard is an violent act as Jesus led a social struggle….and It was not Jesus who made Christianity….His followers made this religion..

In Hinduism…every avatar transformed the society at their time; whether it was Lord Ram or Lord Krishna…It was during the Mahabharata war that Krishna revealed Bhagwat Gita to Arjuna, amidst thousands of dead bodies.

In Islam Prophet Mohammed pointed out at social issues and fought many wars, which obviously took several lives, and eventually transformed society at that time.

 

I have serious doubts about all the religions. I firmly believe that it is the man who made this concept of religions, with his own imagination and for his own benefit…and all religions have been made by men and not women…

Why is it that not a single religion has laid any guidelines for other living beings like animals and insects!!!! What is a religion of a dog or pig or cow?

 

The primary difference between the religions of east and west is idol worship and non-idol worship. But religions which advocate non-idol worship are contradicting their own theory. The main contradiction lies in the attributes attached to almighty. The holy books of those religions which emphasizes on formless god are in fact full of attributes attached to Almighty and  thus it is impossible not to make a picture of almighty…It is again imagining and imagination contradicts the basic theory…After all imagination is  pictures made by mind!!!

In eastern religions especially in Hinduism. There is a devta or a Devi for almost everything .Gods and Goddesses is a wrong interpretation of devis and devtas as it changes the whole concept and meaning. It was a British propaganda.Devis and Devtas can be best equated with angels….Divine messengers.

Kamdev is the devta of sex; Kuber is the treasurer, Yamraj for death. Indra is the king of Devtas…Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh represents creator, sustainer and destroyer and they are above the devtas. And the entity which created Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh  has no name, and can not be given any name or attribute as name and attribute will limit the basic concept

One more question is why should we pray to God??? Why does god who has made this whole universe want us to pray to him???Why does god want us to make religions? our earth will look like a dust particle if we compare it with universe, why will God put so much importance to that dust particle!!! Or is it out of fear which compels us to pray to god…After all isn’t it that all prayers are centered around man and man’s fear and needs…

 

The concept of peace is equally disputable, first thing for peace is unrest, aggression or violence.

Our immune system is a classical example which contradicts this theory. To remain healthy, our immune system should be strong so that it can kill germs and bacteria are which are harmful to our body and killing is again an act of violence.

Does the Idea of God really liberate us or make us slaves? I think it has made more slaves, more followers and more fanatics because it shows us only one side of coin, all good things are made by God and all bad things are made by Satan!! Does this mean that Satan is as powerful as god? And why did God made Satan at the first place…..simple good can not be without bad…Same principle applies for all religions. Without Ravana there would have been no Ram. Ravana represents bad and Ram represents good…Almighty, King of Kings….etc…are all names created by man out of fear of something which is out of control of ordinary human beings.Does’nt the concept of God look like an organizational structure of any modern organization with God as Managing Director!

Division starts by birth, Name is the first step of Division, Then comes the time tested killer which has a name-Religion. Identifying with any particular religion creates an instant Submission——submission of freedom, faith, and thinking and above all submission of discrimination. The number of people killed on the name of religions will easily cross tens of millions of people across globe….But isn’t killing anyone on the name of religion and country the biggest virtue!!! This is how heroes and great men in history have been made…but is that justified!!!!!

All the religions of the world have basically limited the role of women. The number of women as Avatars or prophets is not even 5% compared to men. Does this mean that women are made inferior by creator or is it an indication that religions have been made by males and for the convenience of males? That is why a man can have two or four wives at a time and if women even dares to think something like that, it will be the greatest sin and that women should be stoned to death..!

 

I am not against God, Allah or Ishwar, after all these are names to address the creator of universe including me. But I have serious doubts about some religious concepts and terminologies…those concepts which creates divisions in societies on the name of religions, which kills us intellectually and confuses us spiritually….and above all which has given some people to license to kill on the name of faith and religions…..

 

 

 

 

 

kashmir shaivism(trika philosophy)

 

Kashmir Shaivism(trika philosophy)
“Let Shiva, who is my Self, let Shiva do pranam (bow down) to his real nature – to Universal Shiva, by his own Shakti, for removing the bondage and limitation, which is Shiva.” BY Swami laksmanjoo

“Trika philosophy is situated in the heart of that supreme energy of God consciousness. It teaches you to realize that this whole objective world, which is already in front of you, is not separate from God consciousness. You do not have to realize God situated in some seventh heaven. God and the individual are one, to realize this is the essence of Shaivism.”by Swami laksmanjoo
 

 

Kashmir Shaivism flourished around 900 ce in Kashmir. Often Abhinavgupta is creditided for bringing out the philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism. Abhinavagupta, was the great Kashmirian Shaiva theologian. Abhinavagupta lived from about 975 to 1025 CE. His father Vimala and his mother Narasimhagupta conceived him in Kaula ritual. He was descended from Atrigupta, a brahman scholar brought to Kashmir by King Lalitaditya (c. 724 to 760). His father was a learned Shaiva and trained his son in grammar, logic, and hermeneutics. His mother died when he was a child and he considered this the start of his spiritual progress. Becoming filled with devotion to Shiva, he gave up thoughts of marriage and led the life of a student in the homes of Shaiva scholars.

The teachings of Kashmir Shaivism are derived from the ninety-two Tantras, also known as Agamas, revealed by Lord Siva in the form of a dialog between himself and the Divine Mother. Of these Tantras, sixty-four are considered purely monistic, eighteen are monistic-cum-dualistic, and ten are dualistic. Kashmir Shaivism derives its teachings from the sixty-four monistic Tantras, known as the Bhairava Tantras, the essence of which is called ‘Trika Shaivism’.

The philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism was passed on from master to disciple orally and Swami laksmanjoo was direct descendant in the unbroken chain of Masters of this oral tradition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LAL DED

Lal ded is considered as one of the greatest Holywomen,Sufi,Yogi,poet of Kashmir.It is believed that Lal Ded was born in 1355 in Pandrethan to a Kashmiri Pandit family. Even as a child, Lalla was wise and religious-minded. She was married at the age of 12.Her mother-in-law was very cruel and treated her very badly.Even her husband treated her badly.She renounced the family at the age of 26 and became a devotee of lord shiva. Her verse are known as lal vakh in kashmiri and are a source of her wisdom as well as philosophy of Kashmir shaivism.
As on today Kashmir shaivism is on the verge of extinction and very few people are left who actually know this philosophy.

Some of the verses of lalleshwari(lal-ded) are written below:

Thousand times I asked my guru

A thousand times I asked my guru,
‘The name of the One who is known by No-thing’,
Tired and exhausted was I, asking time and again;
Out of Nothing emerged Something, bewildering and great

Coursing in emptiness

Coursing in emptiness,
I, Lalla,
dropped off body and mind,
and stepped into the Secret Self.

Look: Lalla the sedgeflower
blossomed a lotus.

For a moment I suppressed the bellows of respiration

For a moment I suppressed the bellows of respiration,
Lo and behold! The Lamp lit up brightly and I realized my Self!
The light within me sparkled out;
In the encompassing darkness, I seized at It and gripped It tightly
Give up imagining that the skill of killing desire, and meditating on the Self are too costly to buy;

He stands close by you

 

 

He stands close by you! Do not look for Him far away.
The void was dissolved in the Void!Searched for my self
searched for my Self
until I grew weary,

but no one, I know now,
reaches the hidden knowledge
by means of effort.

Then, absorbed in “Thou art This,”
I found the place of Wine.

There all the jars are filled,
but no one is left to drink.

 

 

There is neither YOU,nor I

There is neither you, nor I; neither the object of meditation, nor the process of meditation;
The Father of all action forgot Himself there.
The blind did not see any relationship and support there,
The devout merged with Him, the moment they saw the Lord!

WHEN MY MIND CLEANSED OF IMPURITIES

 

When my mind was cleansed of impurities, like a mirror of its dust and dirt,
I recognized the Self in me:
When I saw Him dwelling in me,
I realized that He was the Everything and I was nothing.
(these verses by lal-ded have been translated by Mr.B.N.Parimoo from kashmiri to english language.)

 

 

 

 

 

religions and politics

All the major religions across world have almost same message. The message of love, peace, harmony, brotherhood…etc….Hinduism and Buddhism have evolved from same basic philosophy and has a common base and evolved in Eastern part of world. On the other hand Judaism, Christianity and Islam have evolved in Middle East and eastern part of Europe and they also share a lot in terms of Philosophy, religious beliefs and the role of angels…..subtle messengers of the almighty.

I have written in my earlier blogs about 330 million gods and goddess and their significance. This idea will definitely confuse readers from the west. Actually this whole concept of gods and goddesses has been given to us (Hindus) by Britishers….Who deliberately tried to confuse the west. In  Hinduism there is a concept of 330 million devtas(interpreted as gods) and devis(interpreted as goddesses).These devtas and devis are believed to govern our day to day needs and act as messengers of nature and carry on the duties assigned to them by  almighty. These devtas and devis are not immortal and they also are subjected to Maya (read earlier blogs) and laws of karma. Karma means action, Thinking, executing thoughts into action are all part of Karma. In Hinduism. It is believed that soul is immortal and bodies are mortal and souls get a body according to one’s karma.

Devis and devtas can be best compared with Angels. Christians, Muslims and Jews have a great respect for angels. Angel Gabriel or jib rail appeared in Mother Mary’s dream and told her how she was chosen by God to give birth to her son…Jesus Christ. In Islam Gabriel or jib rail is believed to have revealed Holy Koran to Prophet Mohammed. Gabriel’s primary tasks are to bring messages from God to His messengers.

In Hinduism Indra devta is the King of Devtas .He is responsible for Rain (god of rain). Vayu Devta is the god of air, Yamraj is god of Death, Surya devta is the sun god……etc…

 

Logically and rationally not a single religion can be defined. Be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity or Judaism….But we all and since our childhood have been programmed by our elders, cultures and society to follow our chosen religion with sincerity and without asking questions?? Conflicts arising out of religions have killed millions and wiped out civilizations all across globe and this ugly side of organized religions have been very tactfully and diplomatically shielded by the so called freedom fighters, politicians and politics all over world….Religions and politics are different sides of same coin. Religion has been used as a tool to bind common people to common beliefs and thus common cultures, so that it becomes easy for the rulers of the country to rule the masses.

Often the basic meaning of religion and basic principle of religions are sidelined and new meaning is given to religious scriptures by religious leaders and of course the politicians, so as to make their plans work for selfish motives. The whole idea of countries is a direct result of religious conflicts and selfish political motives of rulers, Religious leaders and politics spanning over thousands of years….

Nowadays there are dedicated web sites which give meaning to different religions in a deformed way. One can find dedicated websites against Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. Nature has universal laws for everyone. Irrespective of Religion, nationality, race, color or gender. The different terminologies of almighty have already killed millions and it is still killing. Millions of people all over the globe have been uprooted from their motherland on the name of religions and nationalities. On the other side new cultures have developed in the past very often by violence….Religious and political violence…But things are changing…With the coming of internet we are part of a global village and we can all do our bit to Make the cultural, religious and political exchange more beautiful, tolerant and compulsory and make this beautiful world a better place to live..