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Kashmir Śaivism


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A Tantric Śaiva tradition which flourished in Kashmir between the 9th and 11th century ce, but which also influenced South Indian Śaivism. The Trika, its ritual system, developed out of the eastern Kaula transmission, and represents a domestication for married householders of more extreme Kaula practices. Worship is directed at Śiva and his consort, placed, in the forms of Kuleśvara and Kuleśvarī, at the centre of a triangular maṇḍala formed by three goddesses (Parā, Parāparā, and Aparā)—power manifestations of the universe conceived as a single consciousness. The Trika initiate at this level could, optionally, take a further, secret initiation, requiring the ritual use of impure substances and a sexual partner, in the attempt to realize this state of pure consciousness. Supporting the Trika was a monistic (non-dualistic) theology which argued for the identity of the individual (as consciousness) with Śiva (as total consciousness). Theologians of the Pratyabhijñā school, such as Somānanda, Utpala, and, most notably Abhinavagupta and his pupil, Kṣemarāja, worked this out with considerable sophistication.

Subjects: Hinduism.


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