Kashmiri Shaivism or Trika

A Criticism of Orientology, as exemplified by Andre Padoux's "Vac: The Concept of the Word in Selected Hindu Tantras" and the contemporary writings of other Orientologists as Alexis Sanderson, from a Traditional Viewpoint

This is an article to aid Orientology to move onwards and advance scholarship. It is not intended in any other manner, that is, to undermine any one or criticize others for the sake of it. Not only is this article to advance scholarship, but also spirituality. That is, aspiring practitioners should know that the accuracy of their practice is important if they are undertaking a spiritual journey. How can an inaccurate doctrine lead one to liberation, except the mere belief that one is liberated? Thus this article is also to aid spiritualists, especially Shaivites, and especially Kashmiri Shaivites, to have a correct understanding of their ideology.

This article criticizes not only Orientology's infamous methodology in studying the Indic, Buddhist and other Asiatic traditions, but also their inability to understand the Veda, Agamas, and the Tantras. We are also pointing towards a new direction in these studies, which is the traditional or natural stand, as represented by these authors, different to that of the orthodoxy of India today.

We are also criticizing the inability of Orientologists to move forward and use modern information, that is, Psychology and Sociology. The Orientologists' sense of the world is colonial and many Orientologists are trapped within a sense of Supremacy and the fossilized culture of the colonial past. Often the conservatives of the West, in their eagerness to prove their false sense of supremacy, pursue this career.

This false sense of Supremacy is based on latent fear. It is narcissist and dysfunctional as far as Psychology understands. The fact that the institution of Orientology has not progressed yet is of grave concern, as it is only this branch of study that perpetuates hate, which has its roots in self hate. This self hate is, in a sense, the hate towards other's progress that Orientologists see as rivalry and they instead put others down so as to feel useful to humanity... (continues)



The worship of the Divinity Shiva as the “Highest Lord” is known in Sanskrit-based cultures as Shaivism. Shaivism became popular in the last few years amongst Orientologists (Indologists and Buddhologists). The Shaiva texts happen to exhibit a rich expanse of spiritual knowledge that Orientologists utilize to try to explain the unknowns in Tantricism and Buddhism. Jan Gonda was the pioneer Orientologist to approach the Shaiva exegetes in India and incorporate the knowledge attained from them with that of the academics.

There are several traditions of Shaivism. Uttara Shaivism is today popularly known as Kashmiri Shaivism. In practice it is extant in Nepal, as well as other parts of India. In the early nineteenth century, the government of India formed an institution to research these Shaiva traditions known as the “Kashmiri Society of Texts and Study.” In a sense, it is from this event that the term “Kashmiri Shaivism” emerged. One reason for this is that the texts themselves employ the term “Kashmiri Shaivism.” Another reason is that these texts predominantly originate from the Kashmiri region. And another is that this form of Shaivism was prevalent in the Kashmiri region. In India and Nepal past, Kashmiri Shaivism was known as Uttara Shaivism. However, this form of Shaivism is not merely located within the Kashmiri region. It can be found in the very south of India. In other words, it was vogue from Nepal in the North through Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Bengal to as far south as Tamil Nadu in India.

Tamil Shaivism can be termed as Shaiva Siddhanta. It is found not only in South India but also in the Tamil inhabited northern part of Sri Lanka. Similarly, there is in the state of Karnataka, in South India, another form of Shaivism known as Virashaiva. These Shaivites are also known as Lingayats. Apart from this, Shaivism is also current in the Indonesian island of Bali. In the past, Java was a cultural bed for this form of Shaivism. Cambodia was another cultural bed for Shaivism.

The teachings of Shaivism form part of a tradition in India known as the Agamas. There were a few major forms of Agamas in India, namely, the Shaiva Agama, the Vaishnava Agama, and the Bauddha Agama. The Vaishnava Agama worships the Divinity Vishnu as the “Highest Lord.” The “Krishna Consciousness Movement,” founded by Swami Shrila Prabhupada, is an Agama that forms part of the Vaishnava Agama. Similarly, the Bauddha Agama worships the Buddha as the “Highest Divinity.” The worship of Buddha as the “Highest Divinity” is current in Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan. It is also upheld in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Sri Lanka has a unique interpretation of Buddhism.


Shri Ma Kristina Baird