The Bhakti Academy of Abhinavagupta
“O MY DEVOTEES! ON THIS PATH OF SUPREME BHAIRAVA, WHOEVER HAS TAKEN A STEP WITH PURE DESIRE, NO MATTER IF THAT DESIRE IS SLOW OR INTENSE; IT DOES NOT MATTER IF HE IS A BRAHMIN, IF HE IS A SWEEPER, IF HE IS AN OUTCAST, OR IF HE IS ANYBODY; HE BECOMES ONE WITH PARA-BHAIRAVA.”
ABHINAVAGUPTA lived in Kashmir about the end of the tenth and beginning of eleventh centuries (924-1020 CE).* A versatile genius he injected new meaning into Shaiva Philosophy.
As an original thinker he shattered to pieces the established belief which laid heavy emphasis on caste and gender restrictions in relation to spiritual practice. He took to task those philosophical systems which held the prerequisite that spirituality required rigorous discipline–systems which made the quest for enlightenment the legitimate right of a chosen few. He abhorred the idea that spiritual revelation was only possible in a purely monastic surrounding, or that those caught in the householder way of life had to wait till the last portion of life before they could fully give themselves to spiritual pursuits. This idea was best expressed by Abhinavagupta in one of his concluding verses of Patanjali’s Paramarthasara:
“O MY DEVOTEES! ON THIS PATH OF SUPREME BHAIRAVA, WHOEVER HAS TAKEN A STEP WITH PURE DESIRE, NO MATTER IF THAT DESIRE IS SLOW OR INTENSE; IT DOES NOT MATTER IF HE IS A BRAHMIN, IF HE IS A SWEEPER, IF HE IS AN OUTCAST, OR IF HE IS ANYBODY; HE BECOMES ONE WITH PARA-BHAIRAVA.” (103)
Abhinavagupta’s ideas were radical for his time, but since he spoke from the level of direct experience no one was capable of refuting him.
Having achieved the eight great siddhi powers he clearly exhibited the six illustrious spiritual signs of Rudra Shakti samavesha: unswerving devotional attachment to Shiva; full attainment of mantra siddhi; control over the five elements; capacity to accomplish any desired end; complete mastery over the science of rhetoric and poetry; and the spontaneous dawning of knowledge of all philosophies.
The poet Madhuraja asserted that Abhinavagupta was the incarnation of Bhairava-natha Shiva. Abhinavagupta is the pride of Kashmir and the final authority on all aspects of Shaivism. Today his works and teachings continue to deeply influence discerning people worldwide.
”The Abbey of Al Qiyamah, through its facilitators are holders of the Kashmir Shaivite Lineage of the Paramguru Abhinavagupta. The Bhakti Academy of Abhinavagupta is dedicated to those sincere seekers who wish to take a step on the path of Esoteric Kashmir Shaivism, and in doing so, come to an understanding of their own divinity.
The Threefold Path
The Bhakti Academy of Abhinavagupta conveys Kashmir Shaivism as a Pure Trika system. Trika is one of the major schools of non-dual Shaivism, and the one that Abhinavagupta is most associated with. The term “Trika” refers to the triad of Shiva’s supreme energies of will, knowledge, and action, as well as Consciousness, energy, and the individual—three expressions of an undifferentiated Unity
It is ‘the three-fold science of man and his world.’
Trika philosophy is situated in the heart of that supreme energy of God consciousness. It teaches you to realize that this whole objective world, which is already in front of you, is not separate from God-consciousness.
Trika is a Sanskrit word meaning "triple" or "threefold." The concept of Kashmir Shaivism is the trika science of Shiva, Shakti and Nara. Para, Parapara and Apara are the three energies of which the trifold system is composed. Para is the Hindu god, Shiva; Parapara is the goddess, Shakti; and Apara refers to Nara. According to Trika philosophy, Nara is a spiritual aspirant who seeks Para through Parapara. Trika Shaivism emphasizes that Shiva and the individual soul are the same.
The trifold philosophy of Trika Shaivism (Trika) is based on the three energies. Apara is considered inferior energy, parapara is intermediate energy and para is supreme energy. Trika philosophy guides humans with inferior energy to progress toward supreme energy. The ultimate aim of Trika is to make the individual feel one with Shiva.
Progressing to the highest energy level leads to spiritual liberation. To achieve this ultimate goal, Trika suggests three routes: sambhavopaya, saktopaya and anavopaya.
Those with inferior energy should adapt anavopaya, which involves developing God consciousness by practicing pranayama and mantras. Those with intermediate energy should use saktopaya, in which God consciousness is developed without the help of pranayama and mantras. Those with the highest level of energy should choose sambhavopaya, which involves promoting self-consciousness. Constant awareness of the self leads the Bhakti to the ultimate state where he/she feels one with Shiva, or God, and attains the state of jivanmukti.
Kashmir Shaivism is a philosophy meant for any human being without the restriction of caste, creed, color or gender.
Hymns to The Divine Mother
The eternal, ageless Divine Mother, the
form of Sri Daksinamurti, the Cosmic Guru,
the Treasure-House and End of Sacred
Knowledge. The End of Sacred Knowledge
is the finality and irrevocable conclusion of
enlightenment obtained directly from the
Primordial Mother that sweeps away
centuries-old religious myths, rituals,
dogmatism, misinterpretations, corruption
and superstitions. The End of Sacred
Knowledge is the literal illumination by the
Divine Mother of the deepest and sacred
core of all Holy Scriptures that dispels
doubts and darkness, and sets the
devotee on the path of Self-realization.
The End of Sacred Knowledge is the
revelation by the Divine Feminine that She
exists in all Holy Scriptures—Vedas,
Puranas, Upanishads (Devi/Adi Shakti),
Torah (Ruach Elohim), Bible (Holy Spirit/
Comforter), Quran (Ruh), Guru Granth
Sahib (Aykaa Mayee)—and is the Power
that manifests their eschatological end.
The End of Sacred Knowledge is, above all,
the most sacred revelation by the Devi that
She is your very Self, and that is why if you
have to take even a single step in any
direction to seek the Divine you are going
the wrong way.
"O Adorable Mother! Thou hast generated this great illusion by which all people walk deluded in this world. All sciences have come from Thee. Without Thy grace, no one can get success in spiritual Sadhana and salvation in the end. Thou art the seed for this world. Thou hast two aspects, viz., the unmanifested aspect or Avyaktam and the manifested aspect or the gross universe. The whole world gets dissolved in Avyaktam during Pralaya. Give me the divine eye. Let me behold Thy real majestic form. Help me to cross over this illusion, O Kind Mother!
O Compassionate Mother! I bow to Thee. Thou art my saviour. Thou art my goal. Thou art my sole support. Thou art my guide and the remover of all afflictions, troubles and miseries. Thou art the embodiment of auspiciousness. Thou pervadest the whole universe. The whole universe is filled with Thee. Thou art the store-house of all qualities. Do Thou protect me. I again and again salute Thee. O Glorious Mother! Salutations to Thee. All women are Thy parts. Mind, egoism, intellect, body, Prana, senses, are Thy forms. Thou art Para Shakti and Apara Prakriti. Thou art electricity, magnetism, force, energy, power and will. All forms are Thy forms only. Reveal to me the mystery of creation. Bestow on me the divine knowledge... O Mother Supreme! When shall I have equal vision and placid state of mind? When shall I be established in Ahimsa, Satyam and Brahmacharya? When shall I have Thy cosmic vision? When shall I get deep abiding peace and perennial joy? When shall I enter into deep meditation and Samadhi?”- Sri Swami Chidananda