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Universal Shaiva Fellowship

Online Course 

Tattvas (Elements): The Building Blocks of Creation in Kashmir Shaivism

This four-part online course is an in-depth study of the "tattvas" (elements) and features Swami Lakshmanjoo's lectures to John and Denise Hughes, who, with George Barselaar, also a disciple of Swamiji, elaborate on and discuss the importance of the tattvas.Your confirmation email will include the link to get back to that page and a download link.

Watch the introduction


About the course

This four-part online course will analyze “The Tattvas (Elements): The Building Blocks of Creation in Kashmir Shaivism," including many audio examples of lectures given by Swami Lakshmanjoo to John and Denise Hughes. Together with George Barselaar, also a close disciple of Swamiji, they elaborate and discuss the subject of Tattvas (elements).

The philosophy and teachings of Kashmir Shaivism reveal the essential nature of reality and give one access to what is known as the mystical geography of awareness. These teachings contain the tools necessary to understand and realize the reality and essence of Kashmir Shaivism as embodied in the expression God and the individual are one.

In the two schools of Indian philosophy, Samkhya and Vedanta, we are told that there are only twenty-five tattvas, whereas in Kashmir Shaivism it is known that there are actually thirty-six tattvas. These thirty-six tattvas are the most important points for entering into Kashmir Shaivism.

The tattvas are a map of ones’ own consciousness in all its aspects. Moving from the grossest of the elements as found in external perception in the waking state to the state of supreme universal consciousness. From the five great elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether) to the essential reality of one’s pure, limitless subjective conscious awareness.

But then the question must be asked, “How did pure, unbounded conscious awareness become the limited and bound individual being?" The answer to this question is found in the explanation of the additional eleven tattvas as proclaimed in the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism. In these additional tattvas you’ll see the movement from universal to individual and from individual to universal and how and why it takes place.

The study series is designed for students of all ages, and all levels of understanding. 

Participants will

Study the systematic unfolding of the 36 elements according to the ancient Tantric Shaiva Tradition.

Learn about the ascent of individual consciousness to universal God Consciousness and how the tattvas form the stepping stones of this experience.

Course leaders

The discussions will be led by John Hughes, Denise Hughes and George Barselaar, all of whom studied directly with Swami Lakshmanjoo.

As a realized master Swami Lakshmanjoo (1907-1991) both understood and experienced the essence of this universal teaching. Throughout his lifetime he freely invited everyone to explore the means by which they could recognize and know the reality of their own divinity.

Course includes

4 hours of video and more recorded teachings and discussion, including original audio of Swami Lakshmanjoo, transcripts for some of the audio and other material.

The course material is a combination of oral teachings in the form of audio lectures by the highly renowned scholar Saint of Kashmir Shaivism, Swami Lakshmanjoo, which is elaborated upon and broken down in easy to understand basic principles of Kashmir Shaivism by John, Denise and George.

Purchase companion book

The audio materials used in these classes are from chapter one of the book, Kashmir Shaivism: The Secret Supreme, which is available for purchase in our bookstore. These lectures were given to John and Denise Hughes when they asked Swami Lakshmanjoo to teach them Kashmir Shaivism. This book contains the essential teachings of Abhinavagupta’s 'magnum opus' Tantraloka. 

Comments from participants

I am enjoying the classes immensely and would like to thank all concerned in making them available; I am fascinated by Abhinavagupta’s teachings and take great pleasure in hearing Swamiji’s explanations; also those of John, Denise and George. It is my deep regret that I do not live nearer to the United States so as to be able to attend your meetings, this webinar is a lovely way to feel connected. It can be spiritually rather desolate here in France at times; so nice to know that the Academy is there; I am looking forward to the next installment. I really enjoyed reading Swami Ji’s letter it touched me deeply.
Thanks again to all concerned,

Lovely weaving of the concepts of meditation on the gap, the practice of it, referencing it in the various verses with Swamiji’s commentary followed by all of the discussions. Even the discussion and presentation felt like they “strengthened” the idea as was contained in the idea of Karma Yoga via Kashmir Shaivism. The couple of stories about Swamiji’s life and experiences as a young man were very helpful. I had not heard a few of those ever before. I also appreciated that this particular meditation was initiated in our last retreat and is being continued here. When that was presented in the retreat it felt to me like I had gotten an answer regarding the best approach to meditation. Please keep it coming, it feels delightful. The breathing presented in the first two were also very good. Thanks so much.!
Jai Guru Dev,
Bruce Catalano

Dear John, It is an incredible life achievement that you and your family are undertaking to bring this extraordinary knowledge of Kashmir Shaivism to the world. You are writing a new history of this knowledge assuring that Swamiji’s vision of Kasmir Shaivism meets modern human life and serves its needs. Webinar is in this respect a step further, a historical moment that offers further opportunity to grow individual and collective consciousness. I was lucky to meet you and get immersed in Swami Lakshmanjoo’s infinite Love the embodiment of Creation.
Jai Guru Dev,

I would like to thank you for this 1st webinar session which was very well structured and well organized. Congratulations to all of you 🙂 ! As you correctly say, the subject is vast and very interesting so i am looking forward to the next webinar and in the meantime I will read the material and do the pranayama meditation.
Have a very good week 🙂

You are doing a really good job with the webinar course. You’ve selected the perfect excerpts from Swamiji’s talks plus your own comments to provide a good foundation for beginners and a solid review for more experienced meditators. For some months now, I’ve been very caught up in taking care of responsibilities and obligations. The course is giving me the opportunity to focus on my spiritual objective and to contemplate the answers to my questions.
Jai Guru Dev
Love, Andrea

You were so wonderful to offer the webinar. It was very well presented and truly gave everyone a flavor of the teachings of Kashmir Shaivism. Great teachers you all are!!! I can’t wait for your next webinar. Sign me up in advance! Blessings and good wishes to my friends!!
Best wishes,

"All this creation is soaked with supreme consciousness.”

Swami Lakshmanjoo

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