Q: What is the story behind the origin of Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir?
A: You perfectly know that all these ‘nice tales’ in space-time make me yawn because Śiva is right here and right now and not in some remote past, etc. The notion of space and time is an invention of Śakti. As most people in this world are worshipers of Śakti, the mother of space-time and the rest of dualities (whether or not they know it) they love to hear stories in space-time. However, I am a worshiper of Śiva, that is, I worship Śiva by becoming Śiva. I have no interest in Śakti despite Her being the very Power of Śiva. Yes, when one gets Śiva, one gets Śakti too, but in my case She comes in the second place. Like a friend of mine and his wife… yes, the two come together, but I am more interested in my friend than in his wife. This is a good example that shows the way I feel about this matter of Śiva and Śakti. Of course, I am only one of the few people who feel that way, because vast majority of people worship Śakti on this planet, whether they are spiritual or worldly. For example, most people pay too much attention to physical bodies, clothes, environments, glamour, etc. This also happens in spiritual environments where so many people are constantly worried about what the rug look like or about the type of perfume emanated from the incense stick or about what the guru’s hairstyle looks like and so on. The ones who worship Śiva by becoming Śiva are not like that… i.e. they do not care about all that: fashion, glamour, rugs, incense sticks, etc. I do not give a damn about all that, be sure. I can meditate on Śiva whether or not the incense stick has been kindled or even if there is no a beautiful carpet in the room or my hairstyle is a complete disaster, etc. Anyway, out of compassion to all the worshipers of Śakti populating this world I will give a description of the story of Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir in the same way I did regarding the story of Non-dual Shaivism of Rosario. It will be a summary though, because I do not want this tale to be too long otherwise I might fall asleep in the process (no jokes). For more information about this, read the teachings of Svāmī Lakṣmaṇa Joo (the last exponent of the uninterrupted lineage of Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir). According to the traditional teaching, it started at the beginning of Satyayuga (the Golden Age), which commenced in the current cycle around 3,893,000 years ago if my calculations are well done. At that time, Śiva appeared as Svacchandanātha (the Free Lord with five heads and eighteen arms). Each of those five heads, manifestations of His five main Powers (Cit -Consciousness-, Ānanda -Bliss-, Icchā -Will-, Jñāna -Knowledge- and Kriyā -Action-) and which are also known as Īśāna, Tatpuruṣa, Aghora, Vāmadeva and Sadyojāta, had one mouth. Through those five mouths the Tantra-s or Āgama-s (revealed scriptures) emerged by the process of combining mouths… first one mouth, next two mouths and so on. Finally, 92 Tantra-s were the product of such combinations, but there was three divisions:
- Śivatantra-s or Śivāgama-s: 10 Tantra-s dealing with dualism (dualism is based on the premise that one is different and separate from the Supreme Lord).
- Rudratantra-s or Rudrāgama-s: 18 Tantra-s dealing with a mixture of dualism and non-dualism (mixture of dualism and non-dualism is based on the premise that one is different from the Supreme Lord but at the same time is in unity with Him, viz. one is not separate from Him).
- Bhairavatantra-s or Bhairavāgama-s: 64 Tantra-s dealing with non-dualism (non-dualism is based on the premise that one IS the Supreme Lord, i.e. there is no difference and separation between oneself and the Supreme Lord).
The first 28 Tantra-s or Āgama-s (revealed scriptures) are worshiped by southern India Shaivism called “Śaivasiddhānta”. Hence, if you study that philosophical system, you will learn that they speak about 28 Tantra-s only. Anyway, Trika (Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir) is only interested in the 64 Bhairavatantra-s, which are full of non-dualistic teachings. During the first three yuga-s or eras (Satyayuga, Tretāyuga and Dvāparayuga) of the present cycle, those Tantra-s were not written but they rather transmitted from guru to disciple verbally as memory at that time was awesome. They ended up being written only at the beginning of Kaliyuga (the present era), about 5000 years ago, when the power of memory decreased immensely. But the story gets complicated here because, when Kaliyuga arrived, guru-s and disciples were so appalled at the miserable spiritual performance in comparison to that of the three previous yuga-s that they hid themselves so they could avoid mingling with the rest of people. Yes, they were in shock! During all that time the 64 Bhairavatantra-s were retained in the higher speech levels for the most part, i.e. they mostly did not become manifest in the lowest speech level, the level of the physical tongue.
Q: How could that knowledge be preserved then?
A: Of course, Śiva again had to do ‘something’ to solve that problem… as always! He appeared in the form of Śrīkaṇṭhanātha, at the summit of Mount Kailāsa, and passed the Bhairavatantra-s onto the great sage Durvāsās. After that, Durvāsās tried to find a fit disciple but he found none as the quality of discipleship was horrible at that time… and it is such even now, obviously. The greater the guru, the greater the disciple must be. As Durvāsās was an awesome sage, it was no surprise he could not find any disciple with the required quality level. As a result, he had to produce a mental son whose name was Tryambakanātha. This first son was initiated into the 64 Bhairavatantra-s. Afterwards, he produced two more mental sons: Āmardakanātha and Śrīnātha, who were initiated into the 10 Śivatantra-s and 18 Rudratantra-s, respectively. In this way, Durvāsās made sure that the 92 Tantra-s or Āgama-s emanated from the mouths of Svacchandanātha in early Satyayuga could continue even in this awful Kaliyuga. After that, he produced a mental daughter called Ardhatryambakā and initiated her in the Bhairavatantra-s to show that these non-dualistic teachings also included women (take into account that at that remote time women were rather secondary) unlike the teachings of the Śivatantra-s and Rudratantra-s, where men play the main role. In Trika, both men and women are on the same level. This feature of Trika is rather unique in its class.
In turn, the son called Tryambakanātha (the one who was initiated in the Bhairavatantra-s or non-dualistic Tantra-s) also produced a mental son, Tryambakāditya. This new son did the same thing his father did till fifteen enlightened Masters was produced. Anyway, the last enlightened Master of the series, i.e. the fifteenth could NOT produce any mental child like the previous 14 Masters had done. So, he had to get married to a woman to have a son like the rest of ordinary people. This son was called Saṅgamāditya and it was he who got to the valley of Kashmir. Subsequently, Saṅgamāditya, like his father, had a son named Varṣāditya who was also initiated into the Bhairavatantra-s. Next, Varṣāditya had a son whose name was Aruṇāditya, and Aruṇāditya had a son called Ānanda. This Ānanda is important because he was the father of Somānanda (the author of celebrated Śivadṛṣṭi, the foundational scripture of the Pratyabhijñā school – read Trika 2 – Literature for more information about this topic).
Q: Somānanda was the guru of the great Utpaladeva, wasn’t he?
A: Yes! Somānanda also broke his father’s tradition of initiating only his own son into Bhairavatantra-s, that is, he initiated disciples who were not his sons. The main disciple of Somānanda was Utpaladeva though (his own son), the renowned author of the celebrated Īśvarapratyabhijñā, chief scripture of the Pratyabhijñā section of Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir literature. What we call Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir now is ancient teachings about the 64 Bhairavatantra-s but settled in the valley of Kashmir since the time of Atrigupta, another sage who was taken to the valley of Kashmir by the king Lalitāditya.
Q: What is the relation of Atrigupta with Utpaladeva?
A: Because Utpaladeva was the guru of Lakṣmaṇagupta, and Lakṣmaṇagupta was the guru of the greatest Trika Master of all time: Abhinavagupta. Well, as a matter of fact, the greatest Trika Master has always been Śiva alone, but who cares about Śiva now when the tale told by His Śakti is such huge fun at this time, right? I mean, all this story about the lineages, etc. When one reads and reads these kinds of stories, one usually forgets Śiva in the process, and in the long run it seems as if Śiva was only present in early Satyayuga and Kaliyuga and after that He disappeared! Humbugs! Who wrote and is reading this story after all? Śiva! If you think that it was not Śiva but ‘someone else’, you have drunk the sweet liquor of Śakti and Her humbugs related to space and time. Wake up!
Q: However, the tale was very interesting!
A: Yes, very interesting, but please do not forget the Truth about You being Śiva or confusion will increase in your mind.
Now, Atrigupta did not live in the valley of Kashmir but, as I mentioned before, he was taken there by the king Lalitāditya. Atrigupta was the ancestor of Varāhagupta. And who was Varāhagupta? The father of Narasiṁhagupta… and Narasiṁhagupta was the father of Abhinavagupta. Now you can understand the relation between Atrigupta and Abhinavagupta. Of course, the tangled web of characters and relationships has been drastically simplified here.
Q: Yes, because you forgot to mention the sage Vasugupta!
A: Yes, you are right. Vasugupta was the one who received the celebrated Śivasūtra-s from Śiva Himself on the mountain Mahādeva. The sage Kṣemarāja (Abhinavagupta’s main disciple) narrated this revelation in his Śivasūtravimarśinī. Vasugupta taught Śivasūtra-s and composed a running commentary on them called Spandakārikā-s. This way, Vasugupta was the founder of the Spanda school of Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir. And Vasugupta was the guru of Somānanda. As I said previously, Somānanda was the guru of Utpaladeva, and Utpaladeva was the guru of Lakṣmaṇagupta. In turn, Lakṣmaṇagupta was the guru (one of the 12 guru-s really) of Abhinavagupta. This great sage known as Abhinavagupta had many disciples but the main one was Kṣemarāja. And Kṣemarāja’s main disciple was Yogarāja. After that, Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir was hidden for about 800 years, as it were, until 19th century, when Svāmī Rām appeared. His main disciple was Svāmī Mahatābakak, and Svāmī Mahatābakak was the guru of Svāmī Lakṣmaṇa Joo, the last exponent of Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir, who left his physical body in 1991.
The story of the lineage is far more complicated because Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir, also known as Trika, is composed of four schools: Spanda, Pratyabhijñā, Kaula and Krama. The story of the last two schools was not even touched by me in this article. Also, Abhinavagupta had 12 guru-s, which makes things even more complicated.
Q: How did Gabriel Pradīpaka land here?
A: Because Gabriel Pradīpaka belongs to the lineage of Svāmī Muktānanda, who was a disciple of Bhagavān Nityānanda. The lineage of Gabriel Pradīpaka extends back to even the Naths (Jñāneśvara Mahārāj, Nivṛttināth, etc.) according to what he was told by his teachers in the past. And of course, Śiva Himself was in the origin of this lineage too, because the Big Guy can never be left out, you know, hehe. Svāmī Muktānanda knew Svāmī Lakṣmaṇa Joo (they even appear together in a well-known photograph), but more importantly Svāmī Muktānanda was crucial in spreading Trika knowledge in the West. Without Svāmī Muktānanda, for example, Gabriel Pradīpaka would have never become aware of Trika. That was the great role played by Svāmī Muktānanda in all this drama, that he spread ancestral Trika knowledge throughout the West during his celebrated tours, through his books, etc.
Q: Now I see the point of all this drama. So, you are entitled to found the new school of Non-dual Shaivism of Rosario because ‘somehow’ you are indirectly connected with the original lineage of Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir through your own guru.
A: NO. I am entitled to found Non-dual Shaivism of Rosario because Śiva lives within me as myself. That is the problem with stories about lineages, people always forget the Big Guy. If you do not like the expression “Śiva lives within me as myself”, you can change it to “I am Śiva”, “I am supported by Śiva” or “I have Śiva behind me” or whatever you like, it is the same. Nobody can found a new school of Non-dual Shaivism without His Grace and Support, no doubt about it. In fact, nobody can even come close to a single Bhairavatantra without His Grace, let alone translate scriptures based on those Bhairavatantra-s and the like. In theory, as everybody is Śiva, everybody would able to do it, but in practice, it does not work like that. Do you not believe me? Try to do it and see for yourself.
Q: Was this story about the lineages false then?
A: NO. The stories are true, i.e. the stories behind Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir and Non-dual Shaivism of Rosario are totally true. Anyway, they are fraudulent in the sense that they are a manifestation of Śakti and not the Highest Reality. What do I mean? For example, wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep are three ‘real’ states of consciousness, aren’t they?
A: They are totally real because they came from the Highest Reality. They are not illusory as declared by Advaitavedānta and its deceptive Māyā. NO. The three ordinary states of consciousness are completely real. But they are not immutable, i.e. they move from one to the other constantly. You cannot be in wakefulness your entire life, for example, or asleep. No, you have to move from one state to the other continuously for your life to be possible. That is a divine Fraud then, a Fraud created by His Śakti, by His Power. The three ordinary states of consciousness are then ‘real’ but fraudulent because they are invented by Śakti, this is what I meant to say. In the same way, Śakti invented all those stories about the lineages coming from Śiva Himself. The stories are not immutable like Śiva Himself but they continue to appear and disappear in one’s mind, viz. all of them are at last ‘fraudulent’, invented by Śakti. They are not lies but ‘real/true inventions’. For instance, the computer in front of me right now is an invention of someone else. I can see the invention but I cannot see the ones who invented it. The invention is ‘real (not illusory or unreal) but it is not the inventors themselves. Can you follow me? Likewise, all these stories are inventions of His Power, the only difference being that the Inventor is subtly present in all these inventions as well while the people who invented this computer are not physically present here. Can you understand me?
Q: Yes, Śakti invents things by becoming them all.
A: That is right! You got my point! Śakti is very fond of ‘decorating’ Śiva with stories just as a wife decorates and dresses her husband with clothes and the like. The Big Guy called Śiva remains as a Mass of Consciousness all the nonexistent time anyway. I am this Mass of Consciousness and not the fraudulent Gabriel Pradīpaka who is an invention of this frisky Śakti. That is why I am entitled to found what I founded here in Rosario. Likewise, in the future I could found a Shaivism school on Mars if necessary. The Core of all this is the teachings contained in the all-pervasive 64 Bhairavatantra-s and not Kashmir, Rosario and any other region wherein Shaivism could settle in the future. Those regions are simply places where the eternal teachings of the 64 Bhairavatantra-s are passed onto people. Śiva, through His Śakti, moves the ‘seat’ to different locations and then the teachings take the name of that region in the popular usage, but originally they are only the teachings of the sacred 64 Bhairavatantra-s emanated from the five mouths of Lord Śiva. It is important that you understand this point or your intellect will never take off from the ground called “divine Fraud created by Śakti”.
Śiva can shine on anyone. If He says: “You, take these teaching of the 64 Bhairavatantra-s and pass them onto people”, that person becomes a channel of His Non-dual Shaivism whether he lives in India, Greenland or even in a lost island of the Pacific ocean, and so on. All in all, Non-dual Shaivism belongs to Śiva always, to the immutable Mass of Consciousness pervading all three fraudulent states of consciousness (wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep), and there is no doubt about it. The real name should be then: “Non-dual Shaivism of Śiva”. May this Great Śiva be praised forever!