Tantra Magazine

“In my eager search I realized that the same God unites everything to himself. This whole world is You. What are these things and beings then?” (Utpaladeva)

The main schools of Kashmir Shaivism are derived directly from the tantric tradition of the agama -s, that is, the Kula, Krama and Trika doctrines.

There are also two elevated and abstract spiritual currents, whose source are not the agama-s. They are a direct revelation of the supreme divine wisdom that manifested through the first great masters of Kashmir Shaivism.

These doctrines are: The one of fundamental recognition or remembrance (pratyabhijna) and the one of the supreme vibration or divine resonance (Spanda).

Although they differ in their philosophical concepts and spiritual practice, they still have many common aspects, influencing each other in the course of time and symbolizing the deepest and most mysterious revelations concerning GOD the Fathers (Paramashiva) Supreme Reality.

In this article we will describe the main ideas in the doctrine and characteristics of the Pratyabhijna School. Practically, Pratyabhijna, represents the purest and most complete expression of Shaivit monism.

In the process of time, this philosophical system has developed and has enriched itself, becoming a perfectly rational theological system regarding the Supreme Divinity, and the Absolute Consciousness with which He is perfectly identified.

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The name of the school, Pratyabhijna, derives from a famous Shaivit text, written in Sanskrit by the great sage and liberated master Utpaladeva, around 1000 B.C.; the name of the text is Ishavaraprathyabijnakarika (aphorisms about the direct recognition of God the Father within ourselves).

Utpaladeva (or Utpala) represents a perfect spiritual example because he has perfectly united the overwhelming love for God to the deepest mystical knowledge of the Absolute.

In his fundamental text, Utpaladeva asserts that the supreme spiritual liberation is essentially a total and irreversible recognition of the fact that our ultimate, eternal and unchanging identity is Shiva himself, the Supreme Master of the entire Creation and who is, at the same time, beyond it.

According to Utpaladeva, the individual soul wanders around in Manifestation because it has simply forgotten its true identity.

Anyway, it can remove this awkward samsaric suffering (which symbolizes the wheel of births and deaths), that is, the succession of incarnations and changes in the consciousness at the moment of death, in different levels of Creation, through a direct and spontaneous recognition of its essential, universal nature.

We know that recognizing one’s identity with that of the Supreme Self (Atman) is indeed spontaneous but, this revelation means, first of all, a total and overwhelming manifestation of the divine grace and then, it takes place only when all the necessary condition have fully manifested in that human being.

The process of accomplishing these conditions may require huge efforts and successive stages on a spiritual path.

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The highest realization is that everything exterior for the aspirant is actually a part of himself and that he is a part of it.

Thus, this fundamental recognition helps us understand that we are neither some puppets destiny, or slaves of this Creation (Pashu), on the contrary, we are its sovereigns.

When lacking this recognition of the essential divine nature which is the Supreme Self (Atman) and the full identification with the Absolute Divine Consciousness (Paramashiva), the individual soul perceives only its ephemeral individuality. It then becomes the subject of numerous exterior conditionings and of the more or less pleasant consequences of its egotistic actions which are obstacles that prevent us from achieving our supreme goal in life.

PART 1   |   PART 2   |   PART 3