Sahaja Vidya in Trika or Kashmiri Shaivism Explained

Those who practise Kashmiri Shaivism or Trika Shaivism are well aware of the meaning and importance of Sahaja Vidya. Similar concepts can be found in the Tantras and Vedas as well as in other Hindu traditions. Therefore, most people who follow some sort of Hinduism, Yoga, or Tantra traditions would easily understand it after they are given an introduction to the concept of what it entails. An authoritative text on this topic is the Shiva Sutras, which serve as the foundation for Trika or Kashmiri Shaivism. On it, this essay is founded.

Sahaja Vidya Meaning?

Sahaja is Sanskrit for genuine, real, pure, or original. Vidya is Sanskrit for wisdom or awareness. Sahaja Vidya is the understanding of your unadulterated or initial state. It is known as Brahma Vidya or Atma Vidya in the Vedic tradition. It is compared to Shiva’s unadulterated consciousness in Shaivism. It is praised in the Upanishads as the Brahman’s Supreme state. It is also compared to Samadhi or the transcendental condition of Turiya. Those who achieve it are liberated or enter Shiva, the Supreme Self, or Brahman’s pure condition.

As contrast to the erroneous awareness that “I am a living creature” or “I am the mind and body,” Sahaja Vidya in Kashmiri Shaivism refers to the spontaneous knowledge or awareness that “I am the eternal Parama Shiva” or “I am the Pure Self” or “I am pure consciousness.” If you simply know about it or read about it, hardly much happens. In each of the four phases of consciousness—awake (jagrat), dream (svapna), deep sleep (susupta), and transcendental (turiya), you must be fully aware that you are the unadulterated Self, or Shiva himself.
Only when Shiva and Shakti are perpetually awake and in complete unity can a yogi be considered a true siddha, or accomplished one. A Shiva yogi who maintains that level of purity and absoluteness transforms into a living, breathing Shiva with the knowledge that he is the supreme, eternal Shiva, free from any doubt, duality, or impurity.

Like Shiva, Sahaja Vidya is always present in all of creation. It is inherent or natural to all of existence. It is not produced by experience, perception, memory, or the accumulation of mental knowledge, in contrast to the mental consciousness that results from your perceptual and cognitive capacities. Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we are awake or asleep, it is eternal, unbreakable, and constantly present. It is our innate, spontaneous, and eternal essence that our surface consciousness chooses to obscure. It is pure consciousness devoid of all you have acquired through your actions, perceptions, learning, knowledge, relationships, and other interactions with the outside world. As a result, it is often referred to as pure consciousness or suddha vidya.

Your mind’s surface consciousness is not who you truly are because it was created artificially, depends on your mind and senses, and is not a part of you. You didn’t get it at birth. It develops as your acquired memorial, experiencing, and perceptual information after birth. Additionally, it reflects the world, is influenced by the world, and is a construct of the world inside of you.

It is regarded as impure and a barrier to knowing or being oneself since it is rife with cravings, attachments, egoism, and delusion. It might assist you in navigating the world, but it won’t aid in your quest for freedom. It is a burden because it ties you to the cycle of births and deaths, which is seen from the perspective of karma and reincarnation. Additionally, it ties you to a set of values, connections, habits, and wants from which it will be challenging to break free.

Three methods to achieve Sahaja Vidya

There are three ways to get rid of the impurities in your surface consciousness and reach the supreme level of pure consciousness, according to the Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta, the religious text that serves as the foundation for Kashmiri Shaivism. The first and most straightforward method is to ask Shiva or your teacher for assistance and then accept their assistance. In this method, yogis give up everything and turn to Shiva for freedom while meditating on him as their unadulterated, joyous, and enlightened Self (Chaitanya Atma). While they wait for the awakening, they submit to Shiva’s wishes. At some time, they experience the spontaneous manifestation of pure consciousness thanks to Shiva and Shakti. This approach is called sambavopaya.

In the second method, you call upon the Para Shaktis, or the pure energies within your body, with the aid of your mind and mantra power (mantra shakti), and with their assistance, you neutralise the deluding shaktis within your body and mind in order to access the more profound state of transcendental consciousness (Turya) and remain there. Pure shaktis awaken inside you and support you while you fight the impurities. Shaktopaya is the name of this approach.

The third and most challenging way is referred to as anavopaya. In this technique, the lower and intermediate maya shaktis, which are located in the 31 tattvas of your body, are purified by using your finite physical self. By practising meditation, you can separate yourself from your gross, subtle, and subtlest bodies, recognise the underlying unity of the tattvas, and elevate them to their divine equivalents. You can take control of your breathing (pranayama) to influence the nadi samharam, or body’s nerve channels, and release your consciousness from the grasp of the basic shaktis. By using these techniques, you can defeat illusion and eventually fill your mind (citta) with joyous Turiya in all four states of consciousness.

You therefore rely on the illuminating Self in the first technique, the mind and its Shaktis in the second approach, and your body, its elements, tattvas, nadis, and energies in the third method. These are the various ways to escape the realm of Maya and establish yourself in the state of pure consciousness, where Shiva Tattva and Shakti Tattva are perfectly united.

When you are successful in your endeavours, you will have attained Sahaja Vidya, the highest and purest condition of your original consciousness. Vasugupta states in the Shiva Sutras that when a yogi achieves it, he can do anything and know anything by the strength of his will. He naturally possesses all of the Shaktis and abilities that are connected to it, helping Shiva in the macrocosm fulfil his duties as the Supreme Being.

The enlightened yogi transforms into Shiva himself and sees the world projected and illuminated by his own light and consciousness as the knowledge of his basic nature unites with the knowledge of the world without duality or separation. For him, the drama of life is played out on his pure self as his stage, in which his body performs as an actor and his senses watch from the sidelines.

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