How deep are the Hindu roots in Kashmir?
Exiled Hindus seek to preserve Kashmir Shaivism
by S. N. Tikku
Most of the Shiva
shrines are situated on the shores of Dal Lake in Srinagar e.g., Jaishthethwar
(Presently Zeethyar Shrine), Sarveshwar (Presently Sarishwar), Sarsheshwar,
Mahadev etc. Actually the entire Kashmir valley is Lord Shiva's Abode.
Not only this the Gupt Ganga or Ishvihar (Presently Ishwar), Gupt Teerath
(Presently Gopi Teerath) and Shat Dhara Teerath are also connected wilh
Lord Shiva. Space does not permit mention of Rural Kashmir.
In early 800's, Vasugupta was living on Mahadeva
Mountain in Srinagar-Kashmir. Tradition states that one night Lord Shiva
appeared to him in a dream and told him of the whereabouts of a great scripture
carved in rock. Upon awakening, Vasugupta rushed to the spot and found
seventy seven terse sutras etched in stone, which he named the Shiva-Sutras.
Vasugupta expounded the sutras to his followers,
and gradually the old and lost philosophy once again spread. On this scriptural
foundation arose the school known as Kashmir Shaivism.
How old is Shaivism?
Sages say Lord Shiva has neither a beginning nor
an end. Shiva idols and emblems of very ancient times have been discovered
thus far in almost all countries of the world which include America, Africa,
Australia, Europe and Saudi-Arabia. There are about fifty thousand Shaivists
in Russia even today. The author of this paper is in touch with the chief
contact person and some in Australia who prior to 1990 used to visit India
on pilgrimage to Shri Amarnath Ji Cave in Kashmir.
According to biblical chronology the present creation
took place a mere thousand years ago (4004 B.C.). Since Maxmueller and
others were good Christians but bad Vedists and Shaivists they naturally
fitted the Vedas down that biblical time schedule at the 1500 B.C. Consequently
all historians and even Sanskritists of the Maxmuellerian stamp still silently
cling to that primitive biblical notion of the beginning of the universe.
Today's scientists using radio-active-dating techniques
have established that the Earth is much older, in fact it is about 4,600
million years old. Radio-active-dating is considered to be a very reliable
technique since Radio-Active decay proceeds at a constant rate and is not
affected by surrounding physical or chemical conditions.
Shaivism, therefore, is as old as the mankind.
What is the relevance of dreams?
Danish Nobel Prize winner Niel's Bohr (1885-1962)
is on record to have related how the idea of the atom model he had sought
for many years occurred to him. He dreamt that he was sitting on a sun
of burning gas. Planets seemed to be connected by fine threads to the sun
around which they revolved.
Suddenly the gas solidified, sun and planets shrivelled
up and became motionless. Niel's Bohr said that he woke up at the movement.
He realized at once that what he had seen in his dream was the atom model.
In 1922 he won the Nobel prize for his dream.
An engineer of the Bell Telephone Co. in the U.S.
read reports of the bombing of London in 1940. They upset him badly. One
night he dreamt he was drawing the design of an apparatus that could train
anti-aircraft and ensure that their shells would hit the aircraft at a
specific point regardless of its speed. The next morning the Bell engineer
made a sketch of what he had already drawn in his dream. He finally build
a set in which radar was used for the first time. The celebrated American
mathematician Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) was in charge of the project for
manufacturing it commercially.
Abraham Linkoln's dream coming true is a historical
fact so are countless other examples but the fact remains that 99% dreams
are just dreams to be forgotten next morning.
In the case of Vasugupta's dream, the Shiva Sutras,
discovered by him carved in the rock are still there even today, though
difficult to decipher because of unfamiliarity with the old language.
What is the teaching?
Kashmir Shaivism provides an extremely rich and
detailed understanding of the 'Cosmos', creation and the human psyche besides
the most fascinating knowledge of Kundalini - the goal of self-realisation.
In its history the Kashmir Shaiva tradition produced
numerous Siddhas, adepts of remarkable insight and power which include
Kallata (850-900) Somananda, Utpala (900-950), Abhinava Gupta (950-1000)
- the top raking luminaries to name a few.
The highest aim of the Saivists, Vedists, Buddhists
and Taoists is to become aware of the unity and mutual inter-relation of
things, to transcend the notion of all isolated individual self and to
identify themselves with the ultimate reality.
The emergence of this awareness - known as "enlightenment"
is not only an intellectual act but also an experience which involves whole
person and is religious in its ultimate nature.
In light of this view-point, the division of nature
into separate objects is not fundamental as such objects have a fluid and
ever changing character. The Cosmos is seem as one inseparable reality-for
ever in motion, alive, organic, spiritual and material at the same time.
Since motion and change are as essential properties
of things, the forces causing the motion are not outside the objects but
are an intrinsic property of the matter. Correspondingly, the Shaivite-Hindu
image of the Divine is not that of a ruler who directs the world from above,
but a principle that controls everything from within.
Here is a quote from Brihataranyaka upanishad
3.7.15 which explains all this and something more in just seven sentences.
He who, dwelling in all things
Shiva abides in all that exists including the hearts
of all creatures, causing them to revolve according to their Karma by his
illusive power. Shiva is both immanent and transcendent, both creator and
creation, manifest and unmanifest, dual and nondual, within us and without
us. Kashmir Shaivism is purely the pristine Sanatana Dharma of the Vedas.
Kashmir Shaivism is Indian thought.
Yet is other than all things,
Whom all things do not know,
Whose body all things are,
Who controls all things from within,
He is your soul, the inner controller
- The immortal.
If we turn to the atomic structure, we get this
fact in nucleus (proton and neutron). Positive charge creates such atmosphere
in which electrons in different orbits move around the nucleus.
Break the matter (solid, liquid or gases) you
get fundamental particles electron, proton and neutron. Just as
Vishnu and Shiva or Mahesh. Matter, energy and space are three parts of
this universe, like Sat, Cit and Ananda are the three parts of the supreme
Electron a tiny wave like mass is very powerful
for creation. It works with negative charge. With the help of proton it
moves and moves around the nucleus as Brahma sitting on the Nabhi Kamala
(naval lotus) of the Lord Vishnu.
Proton is positively charged particle. Only positively
charged proton is enough to move electron like omni presence of Vishnu
is enough for creation of this universe to Bhrama.
A neutron is the Shiva, the annihilator of the
worlds-the God of Samahara. Just like neutron it plays important role is
nuclear fission or fusion.
The Radio-active energy released by Neutron is
opening of the third eye of the Lord Shiva.
The Scientific attitude:
The mystics and physicists to a Shaivist are two
different but complimentary approaches to the realization of any aspect
For the modern physicist, Shiva's dance is the
dance of sub-atomic matter.
Hindu artists of yore created visual images of
dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our time, physicists
have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the Cosmic
dance. The bubble-chamber photographers of inter-acting particles, which
bear testimony to the continual rhythm of creation and destruction in the
universe, are visual images of the dance of Shiva equalling those of the
Hindu artists in beauty and profound significance. The metaphor of the
Cosmic dance thus unifies ancient mythology, religious art and modern physics.
In the west there has been constant opposition
to science from religion. Galileo was tortured for advocating the Copernican
theory that earth moved round the sun and not sun around the earth. On
February 17, of 1600 A.D. Bruno was tied to a pole and burned alive in
Rome at the Pope's order because he had proclaimed that our globe was not
the centre of the Cosmos and that Cosmos contained many stars with own
planetary systems like our own. These are just two examples. There are
countless cases where astronomers, mathematicians, physicists had to face
inquisition for expressing what they had observed in their sincere effort
to know the truth.
The first Book of the Bible (Genesis) tells us
that God said "Let there be light, and there was light". Here light is
given an existence independent of any source of light such as the sun or
"And God divided the light from the darkness."
It is interesting to wonder why the light did not completely dispel the
darkness and God found it necessary to divide the two so they did not get
mixed up together. Then God called the light Day and the darkness he called
Night, and there was evening and morning the first day. So, apparently,
it was the creation of day and night that was being described. This is
interesting, for as yet there was not so much as a sun in the sky or even
On day two and day three God tells dry land to
appear and bring forth vegetation of course without a sun.
On day four we are told that God made the sun
and moon "and the stars also." No mention of universe with its galaxies
of stars. One would think that the creation of millions of suns immensely
larger than ours and certainly surrounded by worlds like our own, would
warrant great attention. It should also be noted that the creation of the
Earth has proceeded that of the Solar system and also the entire universe.
It would also appear that the creation of sun, moon and stars was unnecessary
since day and night and light and darkness already existed having been
created on day one.
On day five God is said to have created all animal
life in the air and sea. On the sixth day God created animal life on the
land, including mankind.
In Genesis 2 God (Yahwah) creates a man before
either plants or animals.
What is of significance is that ancient Hindu
computation about the present creation (4.3 billion) with the computation
of modern science (4.6 billion) should show how close science and ancient
most religion is in its effort to know the truth.
Darwin believed that a tiny spark of maner turned
into a protoplasm and later evolved into various beings. European physicists
on the other hand explain material creation in the opposite fashion namely
that a huge fire ball was blown into bits to form uncountable millions
of little big worlds.
Both these views implicitly admit God 's (or Nature
's) inexplicable magic in creating diverse forms of life and matter. If
that is so, why pin down God's workmanship to start from a tiny atom or
a gigantic fire-ball?
Instead the Vedic or Shaivist view is more realistic
and rational. It says that God (or Nature) created the material universe
and populated it with every kind of life which included trees and seeds
eggs and chicken and men and women, young and robust to begin the game
of procreation. This is the view point of the Institute of Rewriting World
History (Pune) but during the recent talk with Swami Nityananda Ji, senior
monk of International Chinmaya Mission this scribe was told that Hindus
were Darwanian's 2000 years before Darwin because it was closer to truth
according to learned Swami Ji.
Vivekananda was hailed when he sang the vedic
dictum "Suns and Moons the Lord created like Suns and Moons of the previous
order." This present creation is not the first creation and its subsequent
destruction will not be the first one in cosmic time.
Living American astro-physicist Dr. Carl Sagan
did well to proclaim that Hinduism is the only faith in which the time
scales correspond... to those of modern cosmology.
The existence of worlds outside our solar system
was known to the Vedic-Saivist seers from times immemorial. To establish
connections with them is the target of the Saivist, Vedist mystic as well
as the modern scientist. There has been such a contact in the past.
Erich Von Daniken a renowned Swedish scientist
on his visit to Kashmir discovered abundance of metals beneath the Martand
temple in ruins in Kashmir with a band of radio-active waves. He arrived
at this discovery with the help of special metal detectors and other equipment.
He described the place a megalithic site of pre-historic times and many
Indian and foreign researchers whom the author of this paper accompanied
to the site during the course of 1960's-1980's described it as launching
pad by ancient astronauts as also another place at Hawal Srinagar converted
to a mosque called Hazrat Bahav-ud-din Sahib.
Prof. Fida Mohd. Hussanan Ex-Director Research
and Libraries, J&K, Govt. Srinagar has referred to space flights in
Kashmir in his famous publication "Hindu Kashmir."
In any reference to Kashmir Shaivism mention of
Surgiya Rajanak Lakshamana is very essential. The learned Saivist scholar
and mystic popularly known as Swami Lakshaman Joo taught 'Kashmir Shaivism'
at his beautiful 'Ishwara Ashram' on the banks of Dal Lake in Nishat Srinagar
for half a century. This ashram attracted students from many parts of India
The author of this article had the good fortune
of introducing several students of Indian thought from America, Rome, Canada
and France to the Ashram. Few stayed there for years and others for weeks
and months till all were hounded out by Islamist zealots in 1990.
The Kashmiri disciples of "Swami Lakshaman Joo,"
probably last in thc race of mystics of highest calibre" have now established
a magnificent Ashram in the memory of the great Master in Jammu where studies
and research in Kashmir Shaivism continues. The scholarly disciples functioning
against over-whelming odds in exile, strive to create active educational
programmes rather than dry transmission of facts. From them the message
goes to the mankind that there is still something as good, love and redemption.
1. India/International Edition of 'Hinduism
Today' volume I November 6 1994.
2. Annual Research Journal (1995) and Personal
Letters from Prof. P.N. Oak from time to time.
3. Kalyan Kalputra.
4. 'A critical look at the theory of divine inspiration'
by D.J. Taylor. Humanist Society of Queensland.
5. Godsfrom outerspace Corgi Books Publishers.
6. Beyond the tenth by Lobsang Rampa.
7. The Tantric Tradition by Agehanda Bharati.