Pandit Jagannath Siboo

Translated by Dr Chaman Lal Raina

Kashmir as referred to in the Nilamata Purana, is the cradle of Shiva and Shakti doctrines of thought, associated with the popular religion of the Kashmiri Pandits.

Like the Vedas, the Agamas are based on the true knowledge imparted by Shiva Himself. Parama Shiva is said to be the originator of these two streams of 'Para Vidya'-- transcendental knowledge.

Shaiva and Shakta are the two prevailing streams of the Kashmir Agama Shastras. The great Acharyas of the Agamas have made every effort to awaken the dormant "Samvit-Shakti" for the spiritual evolution of the Sadhakas/aspirants of the Truth.
The scripture says:

"Samideva Hi Bhagawati Vasu-Upagame Karanam"

Bhagavati' is verily,the 'Samvit Shakti', in recognizing the cause of the material existence. Rishis, being the Mantra Drishta--revered as seers have visualized the different aspects of divinity. They are said to be the Yogis,because of their intuitive knowledge.

Like the Vedas, the Agamas are based on the revealed 'Shabda/Word'. 'Prama Shiva' is said to be the Eternal Yogi, who did reveal the Agamas to his spiriual consort 'Parvati/Devi'. The Shaiva Agamas and the Shakta Agamas are said to be the two main streams that are well focussed, giving a clear image and their manifestation about the appearance of Shiva with Shakti and the universe.All this is being revealed by Shiva Himself, when Parvati asks her about the limitations of a 'Jivatman'--embodied soul.

The Agamic and the Vedic knowledge, develop the three modes of reaching the Absolute Truth,through Karma/action, Jnana/knowledge and Bhakti/devotion. The Jnana is of two layers, known as the 'Para and Apara' aspect of knowledge.

'Para--Vidya' is for realizing the Bhagwat-tattva,which is Divinity with 'Sakara'--form and also Nirakara- formless.This paves the way for Nivritti--detachment aspect of jnana.It is verily, the non-attachment towards body and matter, but not with the Atman--spirit or soul. The other is termed as the 'Apara--Vidya, more subjective, the immanent one. It is related to the physical world, to be seen through perception, and more sensual in thought,word and deed.

The Shaiva Acharyas speak of the "Pashu-Bhaava/animal nature" in mankind.The whole phenomenon is termed as 'Maya'--not illusion in the sense of the Vedanta. Since, this stream of thought is termed as 'Pravritti'--life with attachment,and subservient to the senses only, is therefore based onthe direct experience in relation to time,place and situation.But can be far away from intuition.

Adinatha--Shiva has perfected this stream,who is revered as the Parama Guru of the Agamas. There seems a thin line between two approaches,purely ritualistic in nature. The one is purely 'Adhyatmika'-- spiritual and the other is Adi Bhautik-- material in substance.

From the point of view of the "Tattvas"--the Shaiva and Shakta seem to be similar in context, but in application, there seems to be a thin line between "Shaiva and Shakta", based on the "Samayachara system" of the Shakta tradition.Nishkama/Nivritti system of approaching the Divine, is to see "Saamb -- Sada -- Shiva", Shiva with Amba--the Divine mother as "One" in whole universal spectrum of 'Chaitanyam'--consciousness.

The great acharyas of Kashmir have said:

"Na Shivah Shaktir-Rahito Na Shaktir-Vyetir-Ekani''.

It declares that Shiva is not separated from Shakti,and Shakti is not isolated from Shiva. Both of them are the twin facets of "Anaginibhaava", which is reciprocal relationship of all the limbs. The limbs here mean the Devatas and Devis, which are being adored aa "Trikoti Devatas" at the Hari-Parbat, where Shri Chakreshwara is the presiding Devata, and Shri Sharika is the Universal Mother in the whole hillock. The true picture of "Ardhanarishwara"--- Ishwara is half male and half female can be visualized in the Svayambhu form of the Chakreshwara.

The Bindu/Primal dot and the Trikona/triangle are complementary to each other. Though they are two different shapes, but in spirit the 'Dot and the Triangle' of the Shri Chakreshwara are One. The Bindu exists as the nucleus, and Trikona is the extension of Bindu in a symmetrical form, making the equilateral triangle at the center,and the Bindu is the point of concurrence.

The scripture says:

"Trikona Rupini Shakti Bindu Roopadhara Shivah
Avinabhav Sambhandhas-Tasmad Bindu Trikonayoh"

Shakti is triangular in form.Shiva is the Bindu at the Center of the triangle. Both the Bindu and the Trikona are interdependent. It is therefore, revered as the "Avinabhava' -a necessary connection, which can never be separated. In essence the reality is to see the Bindu and Trikona as One.

Sahib Kaul the great Shakta Acharya has confirmed this "Bhaava" in his magnum opus -- Devinaama Vilasa, a poetic commentary on the Bhavani Sahsranama -- the Thousand names/ as her manifestations. Kashmir Shaivism and the Tripura-Sidhaant also accept this great thought,of Oneness. The Lalita sahsrama says:

"Shiva Shakti Eka Ruupini'.

The only thin line between Shiva and Shakti is drawn by the temperament of the aspirants. Shiva occupies the main place in the Shaiva school of devotion, similarly Shakti is main Deity within the Shakta doctrine of Shaktas. The "Ishta Devi" concept within Kashmiri pandits is mandotary to maintainthe Shakti tradition and to propitiate them, according to their lineage in every Puja. Rashtradhipati Bhairave is related to the jurisdiction of the Puja for every Kashmiri Pandit family. Both are invoked at the offering of Naivedya during "Prepyun" --a peculiar Kashmiri way of offerings to the Devatas on every religious occasion,including birthday Puja, Pan- diyun, Shiva Ratri Puja, Nava durga Puja or Satya Narayan puja etc.

The tradition of reciting the 'Bahuroopa Garbha' is still practised during the Homas/Yajnas, at the personal or the community level Homas. It has the efficacy of removing all the bad omens, irregularities, mishaps, shortcomings during Havans/Yajnas.

The Bahuroopa Garbha says:

Yagarambhe Cha Yagante Pathitavyam Prayatnatah
NiChidram Karnam Proktam Svabhav paripurnam

The Stotram/laudation dedicated to the Svachhanda Shiva should be recited before and after of the Yajnas. It makes the Yajnas complete and whole.We are really very fortunate to have all the manifestations of Shri Sharika, in the form of Shri Tripurasundari,Shri Rajinya,Shri Jwala,Shri Bhadrakaki, Shri Jyestha, Shri Shailaputri, Shri Bhadrakaki, Shri Mahakali etc, in Kashmir. These are of course, our Ishta Devis, related to our Gotra system.

Pandit J.N. Siboo (1919--2001), served as a senior teacher. Later, promoted as Head Deptt of Sanskrit & Hindi,Govrnment Oriental College,Srinagar. Authored "Jyestha Pradurbhava" in Sanskrit with Hindi translation. He authored a series on Kashmir Shaivism, published in MADHYMA-PATRIKA Hindi Journal. Before migration to Mumbai, he was associated with the Shri Roopa Bhavani Sharda Peeth Research institute, where he completed the Kashmir Shakta Vimarsha. He would also write for Hindi Section of Koshur Samachar. He has written on the Bijaksharas of the Shakti tradition of Kashmir. He was awarded the Central Hindi Directorate Award, under Ministry of Human Resources, for Kashmir Shakta Vimarsha.
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Only fortunate persons will have honour to read this vital n valuable information.
Added By Subhash Razdan
Thanks for publishing this wonderful translation during the Nava-Ratra celebration days.Essentially,KP spiritual tradition is revolving around the Ishta Devis. All these are Siddha Pithas of Kashmir. late JN Siboo has introduced the 'Ishta Devi' concept nicely in a research based manner, which has been translted in English to reach the readers,not proficient with Hindi. KASHMIR SHAKTA-VIMARSHA is a grand legacy of the KP tradition written by the author--a Shakta practitioner.
A nice & informative article. our thanks to Dr. C.L. Raina ji for bringing out the work of Late Siboo sahib in to our knowledge. Indeed a great work.
Added By vinod razdan
Shakti is the Eternal power ofShiva. Without Shakti,there would be imbalance in the Three Gunas of Prakriti. Kashmir Shakta provides a thorough view on Para --Prakriti,that is Vimarsha,as explained by Pandit Siboo ji. We thank Dr Raina for his translation Sharma Dammar,research Scholar Religions of India
Added By Sharma Dammar