on February 9, 2002
The Nineteen chapters of this book cover the most important topics of the Philosophy of Kashmir Shaivism.
Though this book has been available since 1985, most people don't realize that the majority of its chapters are condensed translations of some of the most important chapters from Abhinavagupta's epic Tantraloka.
I once meet someone who made it up to Kashmir in the late 80's and actually met Swamij Lakshmanjoo. The Swami presented him with a copy of this very book and told him, "if you read it over and over, you will come to understand Kashmir Shaivism." This has been my experience also, and though some of the material was complex at first, I found that with each subsequent reading it became more and more clear.
Another interesting thing about `Kashmir Shaivism, the Secret Supreme' is that it reads like the spoken word. You often feel that the Swami is talking directly to you. It is obvious that Swami Lakshmanjoo bases his teaching on his own personal experience.
I have been interested in Yoga and Kundalini for many years, and have read an enormous amount of material on these subjects. For the first time I find Swami Lakshmanjoo's explanations of Kundalini very clear and insightful.
This book is a great help to the sincere spiritual aspirant interested in the subject of Kashmir Shaivism.
on October 19, 2003
One of those rare spiritual texts that comes along and knocks you for a whallop! A bit heady at first. A short book, only 135 pages in length. But the denseness to many of the statements makes you pause and think for awhile. The philosophy is rich with depth. John Hughes' concise editing maitains the flavor and vibrational quality of Swami Ji's speeches. He seems to just shine through the text straight into the reader's heart! A book to be cherished. To be read again, and again, and again, and again, and again! It's it. The secrets are there, but well hidden somewhere in the the text ititself. So, you have to pay close attention and read between the lines. Ah, it's all there! Swami Ji's glorious thought's, ideas, and Shaivite philosophies. Things that make you say, hmm.
on June 5, 2011
The essence of Abhinavagupta's Tantra Loka and the definitive explanation of Kashmir Shaivism from the master. Kashmir Shaivism is a mental discipline. While it does encompass the practices of Bhakti and Karma yogas, it teaches the perennial metaphysics of the universe, its creation and our place of purpose therein.
Therefore there are many metaphysical ideas in Kashmir Shavism uniquely formulated in the Sanskrit terms that contain their essence. Immersing our consciousness in the unfamiliar waters of these Sanskrit terms is one of the initial challenges for the seeker. However it is also one of the enduring pleasures of this school of wisdom and you will find whatever effort you make to assimilate these terms well worth your time.
The days we live in are filled with confusion, permeated by a total lack of any authentic connection to our Source and the underlying reality of metaphysical truth. Kashmir Shaivism opens the door to the lost - to the western world - ancient timeless order, that eternal wisdom that lies within the Hearts of all waiting to be rediscovered.
Swami Lakshmanjoo's `Kashmir Shaivism, The Secret Supreme' is a bit like a user's manual or explanatory dictionary for Kashmir Shaivism. It is invaluable as a reference guide and has been compared to a condensed version of Abhinavagupta's TANTRA LOKA, which extensively lays out all the tenets of this system.
In 1971, John and Denise Hughes asked Swami Lakshmanjoo to teach them Kashmir Shaivism and this book is the result. We are very fortunate that John and Denise found their way to Swami Lakshmanjoo in remote Kashmir. It is because of these two courageous souls, along with other English-speaking disciples, that Swami Lakshmanjoo made the effort to put these secret teachings into English - a language he had not grown up with. Sanskrit came more easily to him.
Some of the topics covered are the Theory of the [Sanskrit] Alphabet, the Explanation of the Means (to enlightenment), the Theory of Speech, understanding Grace, what Liberation means, and the purpose of Kundalini.
One of the most intriguing theories is PRATIBIMBAVADAH, the Theory of Reflection: "The universe ... is reflected in the mirror of consciousness, not in the organs (the five senses) nor in the five gross elements (ether, air, fire, water, earth)."
Have you ever wondered why we all see and hear, etc. so differently? This is because we are seeing and hearing only the reflection (bimba) of any particular thing in our own, unique to us, consciousness. We do not see or hear the thing itself.
"Nothing can exist outside of God Consciousness." Whatever exists in the external world and the means (the five senses, mind, etc.) by which we experience anything is also God Consciousness.
The cause of this Reflection is the Free Will (svantantrya) of God. "... what He wills appears in the mirror of His Consciousness" through you and me. "In reality, only the reflection exists and not anything that is reflected" - because the `thing' would have no existence apart from God Consciousness. The Absolute Free Will of God is "the seed of everything."
Swami Lakshmanjoo was the acknowledged authority on these texts, the last of the great Kashmir Shaivites in the Abhinavagupta line. The secret ancient truths contained in this book will impel your Heart and mind into greater heights on your journey Home.
on May 28, 2013
If you're interested in Swami Lakshmanjoo you likely know that you're not getting a book about feeling good through affirmations, tantra as an approach to high-end sex, or any other soft and user-friendly New Age jabber. I think I knew that, but I was unprepared for the complexity of this book, which reminds me of a highly technical manual on Kabbalah or one of those complicated philosophical works by Hegel or that crew, or some Aquinas. The book demands scrupulous attention. It is worth the effort. This is the real thing, from one of the greatest masters to live in our age. If you're interested in real tantra and you're willing to make a real effort, it's great. If you're interested in Kashmir Shaivism you need it.
on June 7, 2016
Swami Lakshmanjoo (1907-1991) was the last living master in the Kashmir Shaivism (KS) lineage, and in this text (which consists of excerpts from talks he gave), he displays his knowledge of the elaborate KS Dharma. Though I hardly agree with everything he says, the Swami is a veritable fount of information. I’ve read a dozen or so KS texts, and I learned more than a few things from these talks, which are competently edited and organized, making this an enjoyable as well as an educational read.
None of the previous KS book I’ve read described the 9 levels of Grace and the 3 levels of Kundalini yoga in KS, but Lakshmanjoo does. Moreover, he’s not shy about describing specific details of the Awakening project, even though these details are often dubious. For example, regarding the breath, he writes:
“If you maintain your practice continuously with intense devotion, your breath stops. What happens is thar four passages meet at the center of what we call “lambhika sthana” which is known in Engish as the “soft palate. This lambhika sthana is found on the right side near the pit of the throat. In ordinary breathing, two passages are open and two are closed. When the breath is about to stop, the passages of ordinary breathing stop. You experience this symptom when you feel that you are choking and that your breath is about to stop. At this point your breath becomes centralized and moves about one point, just like a whirlpool. The aspirant experiences that his breath is neither moving out nor coming in. He feels that his breath is moving round and round, that it is rotating at that one point which is the junction of the four passages. This state is callrd Brahmananda, which means, ‘that state which is all-pervading.’”
I would hardly describe this state as Brahmananda, as Lakshmanjoo does. Though Lakshmanjoo provides lots of information, the flaws in it are legion. And when it comes to his description of the Four Means (Upayas), I take major issue with him. Regarding Sambhavopaya, he writes, “
“When you reside only in the meant [in Sambhavopaya], it is the grace of your Master that carries you. You must reach that state where only your Master shines for you. This means that you must merge in your Master’s consciousness. In this state, you do not exist; only your master exists. Master selects disciple for this upaya who are highly developed in awareness. Until then, they will not be accepted by the Master for this upaya. In this upaya, the Master functions more than does the disciple.”
I practice Sambhavopaya, and no Master is necessary for one to practice it, Moreover, whereas Lakshmanjoo doesn’t provide specific directions on how to practice this upaya (other than depending on the Master), others do.
I read this book simultaneously with Lakshmanjoo’s “Shiva Sutras: The Supreme Awakening” (which I don’t plan on reviewing), and I much preferred this book as a presentation of his Dharma, which, despite its flaws, is worth a read by students of KS.