Kashmir Shaivism- History

Swami Lakshmanjoo’ s handwritten note explaining History of Kashmir Shaivism

The Trika philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism is beautifully expressed in the first verse of Shivadristi, composed by the great Shaiva Master Somananda, founder of the Pratyabhijnana System of Shaiva Philosophy.

Asmad rupa samavistahSvatmanatanivarane

Shiva karotu nijayaNamah saktya tatatmane

“Let Shiva, who is my own nature, bow down to his real nature ,Universal Shiva, through his own Shakti( energy ), for removal of  bondage and limitation, which is none other than Shiva.”

History of Kashmir Shaivism

Kashmir Shaivism is known as the pure Trika system. The word Trika means the threefold science of man and his world. In Trika there are three energies: para (supreme), apara (lowest),and parapara (a combination of the lowest and the highest).

These three primary energies represent the threefold activities of the world. The philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism is meant for all human beings without the restriction of caste, creed or color. Its purpose is to enable one to rise from individuality to universality

The history of this unique and ancient philosophy goes back to the beginning of the present cycle of satyuga when Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Svacchandanatha with five heads and his wonderful eighteen arms. In this form he narrated the various scriptures (Tantras) including sixty four Bhairava Tantras, which are the basis of Monistic Shaivism.

In the three yugas (ages), satyuga, tretayuga, and dvaparayuga, masters and disciples were initiated verbally, not in writing, requiring words and sentences. The power of memory in them was so great that they remembered everything instantaneously. There was no need for them to write anything down or to refer to books and papers. The masters and disciples were very great during these three Yugas.

Later in the beginning of Kaliyuga, this theory of the Bhairava Tantras was lost.

Lord Shiva therefore reappeared at Mount Kailasa, not in the form of Svacchandanatha but in the form of Sri Kanthanatha and taught the theory of Bhairava Tantras to Sage Durvasa who passed on this philosophy from generation to generation by creating mind borne sons (siddhas).

After 15 mind born sons, this tradition was carried out with elevated masters including Sangamaditya, Varshaditya, Ananda, Somanandanatha, Utpladeva, Lakshmangupta, Shambunatha, Abhinavagupta, Kshemaraja and Yogaraja.

Since its beginning the sacred lineage of Kashmir Shaiva Masters has remained unbroken, yet due to the rise and fall of Kashmir over the past 700 years, it had been practically hidden from public view.

Later in the eighteenth century, Swami Manakak was born. He was recognized as a great Master of Kashmir Shaivism. He initiated Swami Ram who became well versed in the secrets of Trika philosophy.

Swami Ram’s chief disciple was Swami Mahatab Kak.  Swami Lakshmanjoo was the disciple of Swami Mahatab Kak.

Swami Lakshmanjoo was therefore the last in this unbroken chain of Kashmir Shaiva Masters.