Light on Tantra in Kashmir Shaivism – Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka Volume 2 Chapters Two & Three.
Tantrāloka is the voluminous masterwork of the 10th-century philosopher-saint Abhinavagupta. It is a veritable encyclopedia of non-dual Shaivism, a spiritual treasure trove containing a glorious synthesis of all the schools that make up Kashmir Shaivism.
This second volume includes chapters two and three, dealing with Anupāya, the means (upāya) where there is nothing to be done for attaining oneness with Universal Being, and Śāmbhavopāya, the means requiring supreme awareness. Coming from the direct line of Abhinavagupta, in his translation and commentary Swami Lakshmanjoo reveals the true meaning of this otherwise difficult text. In the accompanying free audio, the sincere student can hear the words of a master who lived and breathed Kashmir Shaivism in its fullness.
Why was the Tantraloka written?
In answer to this question, Abhinavagupta tells us that, although in the schools of Kashmir Shaivism there are many wonderful and important ways and methods for attaining the supreme reality, yet in his time not even one was still existing. All of those ways and methods were lost. It is for this reason that he was requested by his colleagues and disciples to create a text that would illuminate and clarify all of these ways and methods of Kashmir Shaivism.
To accomplish this, Abhinavagupta composed the Tantraloka, a text, which he tells us is filled with the complete explanation of the ways and methods associated with Kashmir Shaivism. That is to say that the philosophical understanding on the level of the intellect might have been existing, but the actual practical means or methods to be used to attain the supreme reality – oneness with Universal Being – to which they all pointed was lost.
Abhinavagupta was intent, therefore, to revive the true understanding of these very important teachings, to make the practices that they embodied live again. For what is the use of a map if you have no way to reach the destination? Thus, Abhinavagupta gave us the Tantraloka to remedy this situation.
The Tantraloka is composed of thirty-seven chapters (ahnikas). Each chapter has its own distinct topic. A summary of each chapter is contained in the previously published, Light on Tantra in Kashmir Shaivism – Abhinavagupta’s Tantraloka Volume 1 Chapter One.
Here are some of the topics Abhinavagupta examines in the second and third chapter:
Second Chapter – anupāya:
- The means where there is nothing to be done.
- What constitutes the initiation of this elevated aspirant.
Third Chapter – śāmbhavopāya:
- Pratibimbavada: how the universe is reflected in the mirror of God-consciousness.
- Mātṛkācakra: the unfolding of the wheel of energies of the fifty letters of the Sanskrit alphabet, that make up the subjective nature of the world of manifestation.
- Ahaṁ-parāmarśa: how the supreme state of I-consciousness (aham) flows out into the world of manifestation.
You can order a copy of the book here…
The Lakshmanjoo Academy publishes and distributes the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism from a library of lectures given over a period of more than twenty years by the realized master Swami Lakshmanjoo. He lived from 1907 until 1991 and was the last living master of the oral tradition of Kashmir Shaivism. In his teachings, which are based on his personal experience, he shines a light on this profound philosophy making these revelations easily accessible to one and all. These teachings are made available in written, audio, and video formats.
Kashmir Shaivism has been passed down for millennia as an oral tradition even though the Shaivite scriptures were available to the aspirants. Why?
To understand that is to grasp the extra dimension of power that is communicated by direct contact with the master. But, truly there is no surprise here. Everyone has experienced the difference in the lecture by a teacher who goes beyond the intellectual understanding by having mastered what is being lectured on; such a lecture includes an extra dimension, the unspoken in the spoken.
The books you are purchasing are only a part of an intended study set which includes the audio from the original lectures recorded in Kashmir given by Swami Lakshmanjoo to his students. By listening to the lectures themselves you are able to experience the power of the great line of Shaivite masters and follow in the footsteps of students learning the esoteric and cryptic secrets hidden in the texts.
Please take advantage of the original lecture audio included with your book purchase by downloading the MP3 files from the Universal Shaivism Fellowship site.
The Lakshmanjoo Academy maintains a website with complete information about Swami Lakshmanjoo and the Teachings of Kashmir Shaivism, a photo gallery, an audio and video library, and a calendar of public events.
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