TTY 2013 KS assignment

Kashmir Shaivism: the yoga of recognition

This week we will study the teachings of the tantric tradition of Kashmir Shaivism through the lens of one of its key texts, The Heart of Recognition. This text was written in the 11th century by Kshemaraja, a disciple of the great Kashmiri sage Abhinavagupta. In twenty terse verses, or sutras, Kshemaraja describes the teachings of his tradition. He begins by describing how the universe is manifested through the creative power of the goddess Citi, whose name means “supreme consciousness.” Citi contracts from supreme awareness into the ordinary consciousness of an embodied individual. Kshemaraja then describes the path that can be taken back to supreme freedom. The first step on this path, he says, is the recognition of our own divinity, the power of consciousness inherent within us all.

Required Assignments:

Read “Consciousness: The Creative Power of the Universe” by Swami Shantananda: A western swami who has made this tradition his life-long study and practice writes a commentary on the first verse of The Heart of Recognition.

Study this map of the tattvas according to Kashmir Shaivism (from Tantra: Path of Ecstasy, by Georg Feuerstein). All of the tattas from purusha and prakriti on down are the same as those in Samkhya. Why do you think other tattvas are added in the tantric traditions?

Practice: Try the exercise that Swami Shantananda gives on page 46. Find a time and place where you can be alone and quiet for at least 10-15 minutes, and follow the instructions that he gives. If possible, practice this at least 2-3 times. Journal about what you experience, and how you would answer the questions that he poses.

Download a printable version of this assignment.

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