A camparative thesis on Thelema and Kashmir Shaivism
"I am the secret Serpent coiled about to spring: in my coiling there is joy. If I lift my head, I and my Nuit are one. If I droop down my head, and shoot forth venom, then is rapture of the earth, and I and the earth are one." II.26 Liber Al vel Legis."
"Shaktipat is the compassionate will of Paramashiva; It is also called grace. Shaktipat received from the Guru or from God inspires us to walk on the path of Self-knowledge." - Swami Muktananda
Out of all the possible mystical paths to one's Godhead, the schools of Thelema and Kashmir Shaivism are two that concur on the fact that man's divinity is self manifest or preeminent, without struggle, process or need for technique. The Vashnava schools and the cult of Christianity use the crutch of dualism to uphold their false acquisition of power, over the minds of collective humanity. Truly if Shiva is everywhere, as the Shaivites proclaim, "Paramashiva", then god is everywhere, thus nullifying the need for a hierarchal system such as the church, which is at best a middleman between the aspirant and the divine. Similarly, in Liber Al, one of the main tenets is that "Every man and every woman is a star." This culminates in full expression in the act of living your life as a "Kingly Man". These two mystical approaches find validation in modern day quantum physics, where matter and consciousness are two sides of the same coin, like Shiva/Shakti and Nuit/Hadit. The two are married together in a deeper more subtle layer within the quantum field.
In the quote mentioned above, Hadit identifies himself as the secret serpent, kundalini, or individual consciousness, Jiva. Nuit is identified with the Mayashakti, who is the phenomenal extension of the noumenal, Paramashiva. Furthermore, the earth is likened unto the Prikritas or the three Gunas, Sattva(clarity), Rajas(chaos), and Tamas(inertia). These eventually manifest as corporeal physicality. When Hadit lifts up his head, this is the path of mysticism or renunciation, whose end goal is called the Ains, the negative veils of existence, in the occident, and Paramashiva in the orient. When he droops down his head and shoots forth venom, he is exhibiting the path of magick, multiplicity, whereby the magician seeks "to cause change in conformity with will." Hadit and Nuit come together as Jivanmukta, which is to say, that while living in the physical body and suffering the pains of daily life, one is ultimately still Shiva, or God. Hadit, being Motion and the rising of the kundalini, is likened unto the verb. Additionally, Nuit, matter or the matrix, is likened unto the noun. These two together are the "Tao and the Teh of Chinese philosophy". This marriage of opposites comes to fruition in the biune deity of Ra Hoor Khuit, the crowned and Conquering Child, and his doppelganger Harpokraat, the god of silence. As previously mentioned, this is also the Jivanmukta, the divine man, portrayed as Nuit/Hadit or Shiva/Shakti.
In the second quote mentioned above, Shaktipat, "the Guru's grace", is a form of initiation directly transmitted from Guru to chela, thru the touch of a hand, a fixed stare, or word or phrase said at the right moment to inspire Samadhi. It can also descend from the highest level of one's own consciousness without a physical Guru, for Shiva is the archetypal Guru. The transmission of Shaktipat can only be consummated when the chela has reached a feverent point of devotion and a clear realization that the Guru is Shiva or God. Shaktipat can also pass from teacher to student, even when the said guru is no longer on this plane. His Shaktipat can extend down through the chasm of time in the form of ritual, books, photographs, art and other media. In the arena of Thelemic thought, the obvious cult of personality or focal point of devotion is Aleister Crowley, but superceding this is the admiration of his libertine philosophies and mystical approach. In Hindu mythology, Shiva is the Devotee par excellence, manifesting in the form of Hanuman the Monkey King and later as Arjuna. Hanuman exhibits his devotion to Rama by aiding him in his search for his lost wife. Arjuna, likewise, exhibits his devotion to Krishna in the epic battle of the Bhagavadgita in the Mahabarata. Not enough can be said about the mesmeric stare and shaktipat that flows there from. In the 14th degree of the Scottish Rite, "The Perfect Elu", the Hierophant goes form initiate to initiate fixing upon their eyes the mesmeric stare, which transmits a wisdom beyond words.
In the Trimurti of Hinduism , Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the sustainer and Shiva is the destroyer. This destructive element is displayed in the "Eye of Shiva" depicted on tarot card, "The Tower". In this dominantly red card of martial influences, a baleful eye without lid can be seen to emit a destructive blow to the tower of Babel. This is a symbol of the paradigm shift itself, which hinges upon the destruction of old patterns and belief systems, so that new more complex systems can take hold unimpeded by the excessive baggage which neophobic inertia creates. The "Eye of Shiva" is depicted in Hindu iconography as the third eye or pineal gland. This third eye, in modern psychoanalysis, is referred to as the essential self, or in Hinduism, as the Atman. Each Atman, or Hadit point, is the secret center within man, whereby matter and consciousness merge into a higher synthesis of complex order, Ra Hoor Khuit/JivanMukta. This is the Dynamic Stillness of the Kashmir Shaivites.. This is the ultimate dichotomy of being and becoming merged into perfection. This can be expressed in both systems, as the word "AUM"(A-waking, U-dreaming, and M-deep sleep) and is stated in the Shiva sutras as, "The fourth enjoys and is contained in the states of waking, dreaming, and deep sleeping." It is further sated, "the triad eaten by a lord hero." The fourth and the lord hero are expressions of Shiva the ultimate reality and are rarely seen by the average man bound up in the toils of waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. This fourth, or ultimate reality is the Mahayogi, which is the goal of the contemplative exercises of the yogi. When this union occurs the lower mundane reality is flooded by the higher and is expressed in the sutras a thus, "Pour the fourth in the three like oil diffusing in water." This shows the pure light of consciousness, known as Prakasha in the orient, and LUX in the occident, is aware and watching during all three mundane states, and is always ready to flood the initiate with inspiration and creativity of an unlimited nature, being that it is the infinite. These exercises are distilled in the sacred Kashmir Shaivite text called, "Vijnana Bhairava", through which oneness with ParamaShiva is attained. These 112 exercises are strikingly similar those found in Liber Nuit and Liber Hadit, which contain exercises for the expansion and contraction of consciousness. They range from the mysterious to the strange, and are quoted as thus: "Listen to the sound of a musical instrument as it dies away"; "Meditate on OM and the void at the end of it"; "Concentrate on the void above and the void below"; "Meditate on the Shaiva Tattva as pervading the whole universe". This final quote is an expression of the fact, that the world is an embodiment of Shiva and that God can be found anywhere and everywhere.
It is interesting to note, that Siva spelled backwards is Avis. Avis is Latin for bird, which is used in words denoting flying such as aviation and aviary and can be likened to Horus the hawk. Additionally, Avis, or Aiwass, the minister of Harpoorcraat, was the intelligence who dictated Liber Al vel Legis to Aleister Crowley. When looking at Liber Al vel Legis it obvious that the Shaktipat, "the Guru's Grace", emanates there from and causes certain psychic stresses and initiations to occur in the mind of the true devotee of Nuit." The commingling of Shiva/Shakti can be expressed in Thelemic terms, "For he is ever a sun, and she a moon. But to him is the winged secret flame, and to her the stooping starlight". The Shaivite principle of ParamaShiva, that Shiva is everywhere equally, can be seen in the verses from Liber Al, "Bind Nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing and any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt" and further in "Every number is infinite, there is no difference"
Lastly, it should be emphasized, that to live as a "Kingly Man", one should not turn away from the joys and ecstasies of life, as the slave minds of the moral majority do who live under the yoke of another man's ideologies. Both Kashmir Shaivism and Thelemic philosophy both extricate the simple pleasures of life from the oppressive grip of the guilt inspiring dominator culture and lift them to pinnacles of reverence, whereby the pleasures themselves become the means of union.
About the Author
Jonathan Bethel and Michael McDaniel are both writers and lecturers in the areas of esoterica, philosophy, psychology, science, history and futurism.