Patanjali’s Yoga System

The text that is often considered to be the most significant in the yoga tradition is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. This text, composed sometime between 100 BCE and 500 CE, contains pithy aphorisms on classical yoga, called the ‘eight-limbed’ (astanga) or ‘the best’ (raja) yoga. The Yoga Sutra represents a codification of yoga ideas and practices, … [Read more…]

Vijñānabhairava

विज्ञानभैरव The Vijñānabhairava – the Bhairava of Consciousness –  (sometimes spelled in a Hindicised way as Vigyan Bhairav Tantra) is a key text of the Trika school of Kashmir Shaivism in Sanskrit language. declares itself to be,  a Trika teaching preserved in the Rudrayāmala. It briefly presents 112 meditation methods (dharanas), rather than ritual, mantra, … [Read more…]

The Trika-Krama Synthesis of Abhinavagupta

AbhinavaGupta is the seminal figure in the story of Kashmir Saiva Tantrism. His genius was to synthesize hundreds of seemingly disparate Tantras (scriptures). By the year 950, the many Tantras had shared themes, practices, and vocabulary, but not much doctrinal agreement, coherence, or systematic thinking. Near the end of the 10th century, AbhinavaGupta wrote his … [Read more…]

The Kulamarga

An Overview of the Kulamarga The Kulamarga departs markedly from the Mantramarga. We are offered two distinct cults of their deities, one following the Mantramarga (tantra-prakriya) and the other, seen as more elevated, following the Kulamarga (kula-prakriya). In the latter, instead of the elaborate and time-consuming process of initiation through offerings into a consecrated fire … [Read more…]

The Pure Universe (Suddhadhvan)

The so-called pure universe comprising the top five tattvas is not a place; it is the divine Reality that pervades the whole of the manifest universe. The top five tattvas are essentially a description of God/dess. Though divided into five levels, they are all aspects of the Divine and are referred to as phases of God’s awareness. The differences … [Read more…]

The Five Shells or Veils (kancukas)

Though we have been proceeding from the bottom up, it doesn’t make sense to discuss the kancukas that way, so we will proceed to tattvas 7 through 11 and then move on to 6. The five kancukas unfold directly from Maya (tattva #6) and are veils that contract Siva’s self-awareness into that of the limited individual (jiva). However, in the original tantric … [Read more…]

The 36 Tattvas

The 36 tattvas are representations of the principles of reality and provide a sort of cosmologic map of existence – a map of the conscious being’s experience of reality. The tattvas are like a map of the spiritual journey. They are a map of subtle reality and, thus, a means for us to find out … [Read more…]