Consciousness Is Everything:
The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism
ISBN 0 9750995
By focusing on the revelation of supreme Consciousness
He unveils the inner Self. Thus great Shiva unfolds
His prodigious game of bondage and liberation.
Abhinavagupta, Paramarthasara, Verse 33
‘Swami Shankarananda has succeeded in making Kashmir’s Shaiva Yoga come alive in these pages, and I consider this work the best introduction to that tradition thus far.’ Georg Feuerstein
Two main spiritual philosophies flow from Hinduism. One is grounded in the Vedas and the other in the Tantras. The Vedic school was and perhaps still is, patriarchal, elitist and available only to educated Brahmin boys and men, while Tantra is a path for householders, which includes women and people of all castes. The Vedas encourage renunciation and retreat from the world, while Tantra engages with the world and uses daily life as food for spiritual transformation.
The heart of the Tantras is expressed in Kashmir Shaivism, a philosophy brought to the West by two gurus, Swami Muktananda of Ganeshpuri, India, and Lakshman Joo of Kashmir.
Vedanta and Shaivism clash in their basic premise. Vedanta considers the world to be maya, delusion and only ‘Brahman [the Absolute] is real’ while Shaivism contends that, ´Everything is Consciousness’. These two radically opposing points of view resolve only when a seeker attains knowledge of the Self.
There are few Shaivite texts that, unless you are a scholar, offer Westerners a way into its esoteric and mysterious teachings. However, Swami Shankarananda has managed to write a lucid and approachable book that outlines the beauty and power of this dynamic teaching. He uses anecdotes from his own meditation, his profound wisdom and wealth of teaching experience to explain the enigmatic aphorisms. The contemplations Swamiji has outlined in this book guide the meditator to a practical understanding of Shaivism. He writes:
Kashmir Shaivism is a philosophy of salvation—not just an intellectual system. It provides methods, a system practice, designed to attain moksha, liberation from the material world and Self-realisation. And so, it discusses sadhana: meditation techniques and understandings that are useful today.
Kashmir Shaivism is full of the light and wonder of spirituality. It is compassionate, intelligent, wise and powerful. These teachings spontaneously uplift and transform the mind, guiding it toward one of the highest possible understandings of life and the inner Self.