Kashmirian Shivaism – Trika school versus Advaita Vedanta

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Vasagupta knew the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta and also

it is likely that he would have also studied the Buddhist tradition of the eighth and ninth centuries.

Kashmirian Shivaism is a branch of Shivaism and one of the most famous Hindu spiritual schools, which developed in India between the VII and XII centuries AD, taking over from previous spiritual currents various influences.

Thus, we can say that Kashmirian Shivaism is monistic like Advaita Vedanta, is theistic like Vaishnavism, is practically the same as Yoga, logically just like Nayaya (another Hindu spiritual current based on the study of logic), and, finally, is peaceful and temperate like Buddhism.

Kashmirian Shivaism is essentially idealistic and realistic, advocating in favor of a pragmatic approach to life.

From a spiritual point of view it is important to distinguish Kashmirian Shivaism from Advaita Vedanta because both are non-dualistic perspectives that give primacy to Universal Consciousness or Chitt Brahman.

But in Kashmirian Shivaism, all things are a manifestation of this Consciousness.

This means that, from a phenomenal point of view, the world or Shakti is real, and has its origin in Consciousness (Putty).

By comparison, Advaita Vedanta claims that Brahman is inactive (niskriya) and that the phenomenal world is an illusion (maya), created by the appearance of the imbalance between the guna.

Thus, we can say that the philosophy of Kashmirian Shivaism, which is also known as Trika, supports the opposite of Shankara’s Advaite.

The ultimate goal in Kashmirian spirituality is to achieve “union” with Shiva or Universal Consciousness, or to realize that the seeker is already one with Shiva, through wisdom, yoga practice and grace.

Kashmirian Shivaism is a spiritual path based on the monistic interpretation of the Bhairava Tantra in contrast to advaita Vedanta which is based on the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutra.

Vasugupta’s teaching, expressed very clearly from the very first sutra:


(supreme) consciousness is the Self.”

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