First of all, it is worth mentioning some information about Kashmiri Shivaism. It developed in several directions, however the most elevated schools were grouped in the Trika system. The word “trika” in Sanskrit means “trinity“, suggesting the essential idea that absolutely everything has a triple nature. We can express this trinity through: Shiva (God), Shakti (His fundamental creative energy) and Anu (the individual, the limited projection of the Godhead).
Trika comprises several spiritual schools, namely: Karma, Kaula, Spanda and Pratyabhijna. These branches of the Shivaite philosophical and spiritual tradition were brilliantly synthesized and unified by the most illustrative personality, the greatest spiritually realized of this system, the liberated master Abhinavagupta.
His multifaceted personality as well as his special skills were manifested in the fields of music, poetry, dramaturgy, being at the same time a philosopher, mystic and esthetician who exerted a strong influence on the early Indian culture. Various scholars have rated him as “brilliant and holy“, ” a culmination of the development of Shivaism in Kashmir“, and “being in possession of the supreme realization of yoga”.
He studied all the spiritual currents of his time, but especially the tantric traditions, which he synthesized in a remarkable work, which carries the perspective of his originality and is impregnated by a living mystical experience. This work is called Trantraloka, it is written in verse and it unifies all the apparent differences between the branches or schools of Kashmirian Shivaism up to it, offering a coherent and complete view of the system. Realizing the difficulty of this work, Abhinavagupta wrote a summary of it, in prose, called Tantrasara or “The Supreme Essence of tantra”, which is much more accessible.
His work includes over 60 writings, some of which are extremely complex and voluminous. I have selected from these writings some remarkable quotes, full of spiritual teaching that we give below, in order to serve as a source of inspiration, to those who are on a spiritual path.
“Nothing is perceived independently of perception, and perception does not differ from the one who perceives, therefore, the universe is nothing but the one who perceives.”
“Philosophy is an elaboration of different types of experiences. Abstractions of high metaphysics are based on spiritual experiences and their value derives from the experiences thatre symbolizes them.”
“The relative distinction between two realities is not impossible. This is the doctrine of the Supreme Unity, in which relative distinction is neither deviated nor accepted. While on the outside there is a difference between the two phenomena, on the inside there is none.”
“The existence or non-existence of phenomena in the empirical domain can only be established unless there is a rest in consciousness, in fact the phenomena that reside in consciousness are obvious. The very fact of their appearance is their very unity with consciousness, because consciousness is nothing more than the fact of revealing themselves.”