Kashmiri Shaivism

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Fri May 3 15:14:45 CDT 2002

On Wed, 1 May 2002, Shrinivas Gadkari wrote:

> Namaste Jaldhar,
> The proposition that God is an external being is out, no need
> even to discuss this idea.


> So it has to be the Siva as the Self who creates. Is this not the
> same in Vedanta ? Creation is a leela.

The Advaita Vedanta position is that it is Ishvara (Brahman in His saguna
aspect)  who creates the _world_appearence_ (note the distinction.)  If I
can respond to a Shrinivas Gadkari, it is not because I have dreamt him up
but because there really is such a person.  While we as individuals add
our own layor of creation (and hence Maya) it is only on top of Ishvaras

The difference between this and Shaivism is that for us, even Ishvara in
the final analysis is Maya.  As Gaudapadacharya states in the
Mandukyakarikas, from the paramarthic viewpoint there is really no
creation or destruction at all.

> And what for ?
> Just for fun.

Lila for us is just the automatic consequence of Gods' nature.  That is
why it described as "play."  If my daughter is moving about and she kicks
me, I do not feel insulted.  It was not intentional but an accidental
effect of her movement.  But the Shaivas ascribe intention to Bhagawan.
And I don't see what is so fun about say, giving little children cancer.

> Now why does the world look the same to everyone ?
> How would you answer this as a Vedantin ? May be something like
> this scheme is a part of the leela itself. Why not use the same
> answer when it comes to (Kashmir) Shaiva darshana.

We would say the similarity of experiences is due to the fact they have
one creator -- God.  If the atmas are the creators on the other hand, then
there ought to be a lot more diversity than there actually is.

> What happened to Shiva after creation ?
> Same answer as that of a Vedantin: Beholding the creation, the
> Being who was Shiva, due to avidya forgot his Shiva nature and
> became a Jiva.

If Shiva Bhagawan is in the same boat as the jiva, then He can be of no
help in assisting the jiva towards mukti can he?

Brahman in Advaita Vedanta straddles the gulf between vyavahara and
paramartha which why it is possible to break free of avidya.

> Frankly I see no difference between Vedanta and Shaiva darshana.

Let me summarize the differences as I see them.

1.  Creation in Advaita Vedanta is only a false superimposition.  In the
Kashmiri Shaiva darshan, it is a real transformation (albeit of a lower
order than Paramashiva.)

2.  Hence for AV there only seems to be a creator God.  Brahman in the
nirguna aspect is unchanging and devoid of intention or action.  For KS
Shiva Bhagawan intentionally changes Himself from state to state.

3.  For AV the cause of suffering is avidya (ignorance) which results in
reality being unknown or misunderstood.  This avidya is caused by Maya
which veils reality or projects false realities.  For KS it seems the root
cause is Shiva Bhagawans withdrawal from his creation.

> The only difference being, a typical Vedantin tends to reject the
> world of duality (I never could understand why, and I have exhausted
> myself posting messages related to this point on the advaitin
> and this list).

An advaitin ought not to be hostile to the conventional world but
indifferent to it certainly.  Because it is not true.

> On the other hand, a typical follower of the Shaiva
> darshana tends to celebrate the world of duality - although it
> is an illusion !

Which is why I maintain they really shouldn't be considered non-dualists
at all.

In general, the astika darshans have not had such a pessimistic outlook on
life as the nastika ones.  Although Advaita Vedanta concurs with Buddhism,
Jainism etc. that samsara is is the cause of suffering, karmayoga offers a
"loophole" for those whoese concerns are more mundane.  But even then, we
maintain people have to be weaned away from such ideas if they are to
spiritually progress.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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