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I was having a conversation with a follower of Kashmiri Shaivism mainly Prathyabhijna System. He remarked that Kashmiri Shaivism explains the origin of bondage of souls better than Advaita Vedanta or any Vedanta for that matter and explains them differently. But he didn't say how exactly is it different or better.

As far as I know, all Hindu systems considers, there are infinite souls, who have been eternally in bondage, and there never will be a time when all the souls will be liberated, but liberation of individual souls are possible.

Is this different in Kashmiri Shaivism? If so how? And how does it compare to Vedanta regarding these basic ontological claims and their explanations?

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  • @BasedShaiva or Mr. Sigma – Mr Green Gold Apr 20 at 15:01
  • Kashmir Shaivism or Advaita Vedanta of Shankara are recent divisions of Kaliyuga. When Brahma dies, all souls of the creation are automatically liberated. Infinite Brahmas create creation parallelly and one after another, thats why Brahma is shown in red color(Rajas) as passion for Prakriti and holding Vedas based on Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha.Westerners know him as forefather Abraham.Every bound person in creation is responsible for his own liberation just like he/she does not share his property, children with others,how can God's avatar save him/her if doesnt want to escape eternal Maya jal – user22687 Apr 20 at 17:40
  • There are many differences between kashmir shaivism and advaita vedanta. Please see the book by Jaideva singh, which can be found in archive. It is a small book. Kashmir Shaivism is that bondage is real and maya is also real. Advaita claims bondage is unreal and maya is anivarchaya. In Kashmir Shaivism, avidyā and māyā (illusion), are Śakti, They also believe in infinite souls and liberation. But liberation is not by knowledge alone as there are two ajnana in Kashmir Shaivism. – GIRIBLR Apr 21 at 5:00
  • @GIRIBLR if you can, please expland the comment into answer. – Mr Green Gold Apr 21 at 5:24
  • The problem with different schools of thoughts is that they are trying to explain infinite immortal Purusha/Brahman through finite and temporary Prakriti/Maya which is their intellect and words. Its only within creation there are 33 koti Gods, jeevas and lokas and Karma, but outside creation there's oneness and silence, therefore munis like Dakshinamurthy teach spirituality through silence. sriramanamaharshi.org/teachings/חסד – user22687 Apr 21 at 13:00
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Kashmir Shaivism (KS) rejects the Advaita Vedānta (AV) theory of eternal and independent ignorance. In Kashmir Shaivism, avidyā and māyā (illusion), are Śakti, They also believe in infinite souls and liberation. But liberation is not by knowledge alone as there are two ajnana in Kashmir Shaivism.

In Kashmir Shaivism, bondage is real and maya is also real. Advaita claims bondage is unreal and maya can neither be said as existent nor non-existent (Sat Asat), because these are mutually contradictory terms. Hence, Sankara has called Maya to be existent- non-existent-indescribable.

In KS, bondage is a play of Sakti. Shiva through Mayashakti (which limits the power of knowledge and activity) becomes bonded and becomes a jiva.

in AV, bondage is unreal and is beginningless,

In AV, no action is done by Atman. In KS, Atman is also involved in action.

From the book, Vedant And Advaita Shaivagama Of Kashmir by Dr. Jaideva Singh

The text below has been paraphrased as the differences are listed in 10 pages in the book.

The Nature of Absolute Reality

AV: the absolute Reality is simply Jnana

KS: it is prakasha-vimarshamaya, i.e. it has both jnatritva and kartritva.

The Status of the World

AV: The world, according to Shankara, is mithya or false. It is simply an adhyaropa or adhyasa or false imposition on Brahman due to ajnana or nescience just as a snake is a false imposition on a rope.

KS: the world is an abhasa, but abhasa or appearance is real. The abhasas only prove the glory and richness of Shiva. It maintains that parinama-vada and vivartavada are not the exhaustive theories of manifestation. Manifestation is brought about by the Svatantrya of Shiva

Atman in the Human Body

AV: According to Shankara, atman in the human body is only sakshi-chaitanya or witnessing consciousness.

KS: Atman in the human body also is spandamaya. It has always the characteristic of jnana and kriya

Difference in the Upayas

Vedanta: shravana, manana, and nididhyasana are the only means to liberation.

KS: four upayas, viz. (i) amipaya, (ii) shambhavopaya, (iii) shaktopaya, and (iv) anavopaya.

Difference in the Conception of Ajnana

Vedanta: avidya or ajnana is removed by vidya or jnana, and when this happens, there is mukti or liberation.

KS: There are two kinds of ajnana, viz. bauddha ajnana and paurusha ajnana. Paurusha ajnana is inherent in the paurusha ; bauddha ajnana is intellectual. By vidya only bauddha ajnana can be removed, paurusha ajnana will still remain. Such a person will only be landed in blank abstraction. He will not realize shivatva or divinization. Paurusha ajnana has also to be removed. This can be removed by Shakti-pata which comes about either by diksha by a Self-realized guru or by direct divine grace.

Difference in the Conception of Mukti or Liberation

The ideal of mukti in Vedanta is kaivalya or isolation just as in Samkhya-yoga. The only difference is that in Samkhya-yoga, it is isolation from prakrti, in Vedanta, it is isolation from maya.

The ideal of mukti in KS is shivatva-yojana or being integrated to Shiva.

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  • excellent answer. One small point left out, try if you can add it. About the origin of bondage, AV says its beginningless. What does KS say about this? – Mr Green Gold Apr 22 at 3:20
  • @MrGreenGold I have added it. KS only says it is created by Sakti but do not exactly say when it begins. – GIRIBLR Apr 22 at 4:59
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    @GIRIBLR nice answer! Btw you can look in introduction part of Shiva Sutras by Jaideva Singh for bondage beginning. – TheLittleNaruto Apr 22 at 9:21
  • @TheLittleNaruto I don't have that book. This book simply states Shiva through Mayashakti (which limits the power of knowledge and activity) becomes bonded and becomes a jiva. Nothing how about and when it started. If you know, kindly edit the answer, please – GIRIBLR Apr 22 at 11:01
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First, Kashmiria Shaivism, although not a part of Advaita Vedanta, is an Advaita philosophy. Professor Chandradhar Sharma in his book The Advaita Tradition in Indian Philosophy: A Study of Advaita in Buddhism, Vedanta and Kashmira Shaivism writes in Chapter 8 (Kashmira Shaivism: A Critical Estimate):

The charge of Kashmira Shaivism against Advaita Vedanta that its Brahma is abstract, formal and inactive and therefore is as good as 'nothing' is incorrect. On the other hand, the truth is that the Shaiva conception of unity as 'union of the two' falls short of the transcendental unity and is not the true 'advaita'. Advaita is not afraid as this system imagines, of duality, for really there is no duality and Advaita is not troubled by by illusion and hallucination. The transcendental unity in Advaita Vedanta is above the thought-forms of unity and duality. Real unity cannot be 'union of the two', for if the two are equals they are two independent reals which cannot be related; and if one of the two is primary and the other secondary, this dependent 'other' will be found to be dispensable and will glide away into the principal which alone can be called real. It is Kashmira Shaivism which is afraid of losing the finite self and its world and therefore wants to retain them in some form in the Absolute. If Shiva is the Supreme Self, the pure Subject, how can He be the unity of subject and object? No trace of the object can be ultimately retained in the subject. If this supposed 'unity', this union of 'subject and object' is the subject, there can be no objectivity in it; and if it is an object, it cannot be the unity of subject and object. To describe the unity of the Self as the unity of subject and object, as the union of Shiva and Shakti, of knowledge and activity, where everything is retained and seen in a new light, where an all-embracing wonderful experience shines, where there is self-conscious experience of being and bliss may represent a grand achievement of thought, but does not point to ultimate reality; it may be good poetry, but it is not sound philosophy. It may satisfy our religious instinct, but it does not resist dialectical scrutiny. Objectivity, duality and attachment are due to transcendental Illusion. To try to retain them in the Absolute is an impossibility. It reflects our attachment to the 'I' and the 'mine' and is Ignorance par excellence. To pretend to give up attachment to this world, but to carry the load of the 'I' and 'mine' into the Absolute is as Nagarjuna says, the greatest attachment (maha-graha). Even great yogis, as Gaudapada observes, are troubled by this basic Ignorance and tremble at the thought of losing their personality in the Absolute, imagining fear even in the fearless goal (abhaye bhayadarshinah).

and in his book A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy (https://archive.org/details/IndianPhilosophyACriticalSurvey), Professor Sharma says in his section on Kashmira Shaivism:

The individual soul is pure consciousness and as such is identical with Shiva, It is the ultimate reality under conditions of self-illumination. Plurality of souls is not final. Apart from Shiva, the world is not; different from Shiva, the soul is not.

Recognition (pratyabhijna) of this reality is essential for obtaining liberation...Recognition at once overcomes bondage. The liberated soul becomes one with Shiva and ever enjoys the mystic bliss of oneness with the Lord. Jivamukti is admitted.

The differences between the two schools is not great; at its essence, Kashimira Shaivism is Advaita Vedanta.

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    In my opinion, it is preferable to avoid posts that denigrate a darshana. – zero Apr 21 at 10:40
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    @alsoran its not denigratiing, its just the opinion of the author of the book – Mr Green Gold Apr 22 at 3:19
  • In real sense, Advaita cannot be the yardstick nor can it be used to validate any philosophy. Why is their philosophy called "not two" instead of just "one"? – TheLittleNaruto Apr 24 at 19:21

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