Emanation in Kashmiri Shaivism

These are short edited extracts from a text by Daniel Odier available here.

The extracts describe one view of emanation from Pure Consciousness (Shiva) to all we see around us. I use the word Emanation, meaning to ”flow out from”.

Unlike some other schools of Vedic thought, the Kashmiri Shaivites embrace the divinity of the phenomenal world –  Shakti – as a means to enlightenment. There is no refusal of ”Maya” here by dismissing it as ”illusion”. There is no difference between Shiva and Shakti in this philosophy. They are two indivisible parts of the intrinsic Whole. Shiva is Pure Consciousness and Shakti is the Dynamic Energy inherent in this consciousness.

(Any misunderstanding presented above or in parentheses below is my own.)

 ”Param Shiva is the ultimate reality who is the nature of Bliss itself and all complete in Himself. He is beyond description, beyond all manifestation, beyond limitation of form, time and space. He is eternal, infinite, all pervading, all knowing and all powerful.

Let us come to universal manifestation; let us have a look at this creation of Lord. Kashmir Shaivism postulates 36 categories or “tattvas” to explain the process of cosmic evolution.

Let us keenly focus our attention to this process of universal evolution or universal experience, i.e., from God hood to Maya Shakti which is the veiling or obscuring force of nature leading to various psycho – physical elements and finally the Panch Mahabhutas – five great elements : Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether. Let us look further into this great descent or the process of in-evolution, i.e. from God-hood to Man-hood.


The first outward manifestation of the divine creative energy in the process of cosmic evolution is called Shiva – Tattva. It is the initial creative movement of Paramasiva. Further, it is the static aspect of consciousness of all things in the manifest world. It is like the bed of a river or the canvas of a painting. It can never be seen, it can only be known by its effects.


Since the Shiva Tattva represents the passive aspect of the pure consciousness, it is dependent upon the active or dynamic aspect to bring it into being. This is called Shakti Tattva. Shakti is the active or kinetic aspect of consciousness. Just as an artist pours out his delight in a poem, picture or song, even so the Supreme pours out his delight in this manifestation called Shakti. When Shakti is predominant, supreme bliss is experienced.


Now let us come to evolution of material universe. The power of consciousness to separate and divide is called Maya Shakti. This is the power to perceive differences. The term “Maya” means illusion. Here it is used to refer to the veiling or obscuring force of nature which creates a sense of differentiation. As such, it makes universal consciousness which is unity, appear as duality and multiplicity.

[The five veils of Maya are Limited Time, Desire for Limited things, Limited Knowledge, Limited Power, Limited Experience of self.]


The result of Maya are PURUSHA and PRAKRITI. Here the dual world of mind and matter is permanently established. In other words, although the Lord is absolutely free, he puts on Maya and her coverings, forgets his true nature, limits His power and reduces Himself to an individual soul which is called PURUSHA and its objective manifestation PRAKRITI.

[Manifestation continues then through different levels of manifestation of these forces ….. In short, they are Intuition, Mind, Ego or I-sense. From Mind comes the 5 sense organs(nose, tongue, eye, skin, ear), the 5 organs of action (hands, feet, mouth, anus, sex organs), and the 5 sensations (hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touch). Thereafter are the fundamental elements of earth, water, fire, air and ether.]


From the absolute point of view there is no bondage, yet when the Lord manifests as limited due to His own free will, He forgets His own perfection and becomes bound. In other words bondage is nothing more than an individual’s self – forgetfulness or ignorance of his own perfection. For the purpose of Divine Sport the Absolute voluntarily accepts the limitations of self-consciousness, which gives rise to limited desires. Because of these limited desires, the finite self performs various finite actions, and experiences their consequences.


It is natural that we must strive from bondage to liberation. Liberation according to Kashmir Shaivism means recognition of one’s true nature which means the original, pure I – consciousness. This pure I – consciousness is immediate, non-relational awareness. To be integrated to the divine I is liberation. As Abhinavagupta puts it ” LIBERATION is nothing else but the awareness of one’s true nature”. The highest attainment, however, is that of Shiva Consciousness in which the entire universe appears as I – consciousness.

The article continues with various methods, but the post is only about the emanation from Pure Consciousness into our present experience. To read it all ~ http://www.danielodier.com/english/enparam.php


Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Uncategorized, Yoga

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''I am all pervasive. I am without any attributes, and without any form. I have neither attachment to the world, nor to liberation. I have no wishes for anything because I am everything, everywhere, every time, always in equilibrium. I am indeed, That eternal knowing and bliss, Shiva, love and pure consciousness.''
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