advaitam and Kashmir shaivam

Thu Aug 14 10:09:59 CDT 1997

  Ramakrishnan wrote:

>The above information is somewhat incorrect. There are shaiva Agama
>texts which uphold advaita in it's highest form, eg, the
> devikAlottara. It's one of the Agama-s, although it's considered a
>"minor" one by the shaiva-s. There are other advaitic Agama-s also.

>Further the tantra texts teach advaita, but not advaita as in the sense
>of  shrI sha.nkara. These texts uphold the reality of the world and do
>not accept the brahma satya jagat mithyA idea. In fact these texts
>criticize outright, advaita vedAnta as taught by shrI sha.nkara. It's
>somewhat similar to Kashmir shaivism in fact!

  Mishra also mentions in his book that Shiva Agamas teach dvaita,
  Rudra Agamas teach vishishhTa-advaita, and Bhairava Agamas advaita.
  I guess one could call all these Agamas by the name Shaiva Agamas.
  Mishra attributes the difference in teachings to adhikaarii-bheda,
  ie. due to the differences in eligibilities of the aspirants.

  You are correct in saying that tantra texts in general teach
  advaita, although not the same type as Shankara's. In fact, the
  claim is made that Kashmir Shaivism is _the_ philosophy of
  tantra. If this claim is accepted, I would say that
  the tantrist is unwilling to give up the notion that there cannot
  be a state without some activity in it. So, in his opinion, even in the
  realized state there has to be some activity, at least an activity
  of the Consciousness. Shankara, on the other hand, is very emphatic
  that there cannot be the slightest activity, mental or otherwise, in
  the state of jnaana. These differing views are understandable because they
  have different bases. The tantrist bases his arguments on texts
  which emphasize action or ritualism, but Shankara bases his on the
  upanishhads. The tantrist is not obliged to give convincing
  interpretations of the upanishhads, nor is Shankara obliged to give
  interpretations of the tantras.

  The analogy to advaitic jnaana is deep (dreamless) sleep whereas the
  corresponding analogy for Kashmir Shaivism would be a dream
  state where one is both self-conscious and also conscious of the fact
  that he/she is dreaming. The advaitic concept is more like merging
  into Brahman, but for the Kashmir Shaiva, it is like identifying with
  or becoming one with the Dreamer, Shiva.

  But the point that self-conciousness is present in the liberated state
  is on weak ground, as far as the upanishads are concerned. And without
  self-consciousness, the notion that there is activity is  not logical
  too. I will try to post something about this later.



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