An Exercise in Pratyabhigya Darshan under Srividya – Part 1

An Exercise in Pratyabhigya Darshan under Srividya – Part 1

Pratyabhigya Philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism and Sri Vidya

Namaskar Friends,

I am sending to you a piece of highly significant knowledge with the blessings of my inspiration, and my adhyatmic Guru respected Shri Mahaavtar Babaji.

Before interpreting and analyzing or the Panchdashi mantra or ascertaining the meaning of every beejakshar, it is necessary to understand few subjects described in the Shastras. There are many who are made to believe that they will be showered by Gyan following the citing of certain mantras. They loose years together without achieving anything. The truth keeps on evading them. What they really need is proximity to the Satguru and his blessings. Only this can get true Gyan or knowledge.

During Srividya sadhana, the sadhak should understand many things from the Guru. The Srividya sadhaks are very often under the impression that they have been bestowed by several powers by practicing Srividya sadhana on their own without a capable Guru. If this was true, Sridattatreya could have done without Sridakshinamurthy, Parshuram could have done without Dattatreyaji, and Karna would not have spent his life with Parshuramji. Sri Krishna, Sriram and Pandavas all could become whatever they were after spending many years in the Gurukul. All doubts should be cleared in a timely manner.

Let us now focus on Pratyabhigya Darshan, a very important topic in Adhyatm, also known as Spandshastra or Trikpratyabhigya originating from Advait Darshan of Kashmir.

The Pratyabhigya Darshan was conceived as an Advaitvadi philosophy during the 9th century. The name is based on the scripture Ishwarpratyabhigyakarika written by Utpaldev. Pratya bhigya (prati+abhigya) literally means recognizing an already seen object or knowing something on the basis of something else which we have experienced earlier. It is a part of the Kashmir Shaive Darshan inspired by Vasugupt (860-925), the creator of Shivasutra.

IT is believed that there were only two sects of Shaiv community during Vedic period – Paashupaat and Aagmik. During Mahabharat period the forms increased to four – Shaiv, Paashupaat, Kaaldaman or Kaalmukh, and, Kaapaalik. In due course of time, Paashupaat got fragmented into six types (Paashupaat, Laghulish Paashupaat, Kaapaalik, Nath community, Gorakshnath community, and Rangeshwar) and Aagmik Shaivmat evolved as four sects (Shaiv Siddhant, Tamil Shaiv, Kashmir Shaiv, and Veer Shaiv).

Origin of Pratyabigya Philosophy

The Pratyabhagi Darshan is a gift by Kashmir Shaive school and its origin can be credited to Acharya Vasugupt (around 800 B.C.). Shivsutra narrates an interesting event stated by Acharya Hemraj. He wrote about a dream of Vasugupt in which Lord Krishna appeared instructing him to go to Mahadevgiri in Kashmir and find out Shivasutra engraved on one of the mountain blocks. He asked him to understand the same and propagate it. The dream turned out to be a reality and Vasugupt discovered 77 Shivsutras engraved on a mountain shila, popularly known as Shivpal or Shivshila.

Acharya Vasugupt has explained these Sutras in his book Spandkarika. Vasugupt had two disciples – Kallat and Somanand. Kallat wrote Spandasarvasva and Somanand authored Shivadrishti and Paratarti. Utpalacharya, son and disciple of Somanand developed Ishwarprayakti after which Pratyabhigya was named.

It is necessary to understand why it is necessary to change the view of Sadhak towards Sadhana. Some Srividya Sadhaks are under a wrong impression that the Guru who have imparted Srividya to them is great and Srividya will get them Moksh or salvation, as if they are hypnotized. During intense Sadhana, the Sadhak can interact with the Guru and only this can remove the misgivings. This phase of  sadhana can bring about the realization of Advaitta.
Osho made a highly significant comment in this regard – ‘ Sadhana cannot be done simply by imagining that God is omnipresent. It is important to have a taste and experience of God. Without enough familiarity and an insight into the presence of God, Sadhana is no more than imagination. One can move step by step – first experiencing God and than imagining it.’

May be this is exactly why many do not talk about God. They maintain that realizing God is the result of Sadhana and should be its natural outcome. One should not engage in Sadhana with anxiety to realize God. Realization will result automatically if Sadhana is done with full involvement. This is the jest of Adhyatm and basic to the understanding of Advaitta.

Advait philosophy is visible in Shaiva civilization. Shaiva dharm was widespread during Mohanjjodaro civilization and the Copperstone age. In India there were three regions where Shaiva religion was prevalent – Karnataka (Veershaiva), Tamilnadu (Shaiva Siddhant), and Kashmir (Advait Shaiva Dharm). All three are related to the Shivalinga and Shiva tatva but with different viewpoints.

Dvait-Advaita in Srividya

Before understanding Dvait-Advaitta in Srividya, it is necessary to view the history of mother earth. Why? Because of historical facts on Sadhana and Abhyas, many adhyaatmic concepts have evolved.

There used to be Gurukuls where Shishyas used to transform themselves by staying with the Gurus and learning Yog-Sadhana from them even during recent hundred years or so, and not necessarily in the Tretaa and Dwapar eras with which they are generally associated.

Things have changed in the modern era. In the name of Advait and Srividya we have loud music, bhajans and attractive costumes mesmerizing people. Most people just don’t bother for the technicalities regarding acquiring true Gyan. People seem more stuck with activation of kundalini while Srividya is more concerned with controlling it. Remember how Krishna had his feet on the head of Takshak. The Sadhak should understand this basic route to go beyond Sahasrahar. Some Sadhaks live in their own misleading imaginative world and they consider their victory in flying in the air, jumping like a frog, shaking hips and shouting in ecstasy. None of these is real Srividya. This is the kundalini getting stuck up.

In Srividya, practice and interaction with the Guru is very important. Pratbhigya itself is a mirror of Srividya and every person should practice it. As no one can become an Ambani by living in a hut next to Ambani, similarly a person cannot become an Advait Srividya sadhak simply by becoming an associate of a big Srividya Guru or getting Panchdashi Diksha. Deliberation of many subjects is important.

To be continued.

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|| Sri Matre Namah ||

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