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Iccha Upaya


Iccha Upaya in Hinduism is the realization, through one’s willpower in Kashmir Shaiva Philosophy. It is also known as sambhavopaya. It is called iccha upaya because it is related to icha shakti as rightly said in Tantraloka (I.255): vibhu saktayanusamabandhat samavesah tridha iccha jnana kriya yogaduttarottara sambhrtah.

Iccha Upaya is the real path, in which self realization is attained through the mere exercise of will. Here there is a predominance of will over all other aspects of experience.
Observance of external discipline, meditation or contemplation etc, are not regarded as important in this path. It might be compared to the state of experience which immediately precedes the emergence of deep sleep (Tatraloka I.235).

Malinivijaya Tantra (II.23) explains icchopaya or sambhavaopaya as
Akincichintakasyaiva guruna pratibaodhitah
Jayate yah samavesha sambhavo savudahrtah

This is sambhava-samavesha (absorption in Shiva consciousness), which occurs to one who has free himself of all ideation by an awakening imparted by the guru or by an intensive awakening of his won.

When there is identification with Shiva without any meditation or thought process, merely by an intensive orientation of will power or iccha shakti towards the inner reality, then there is sambhava yoga or sambhava samavesha.

In iccha shakti, we think of our unity with the universe in tridhopayah (three ways)
Imatta evoditamidam (all this has spring forth from me)
Mayyeva pratibimbitam (all this is reflected in me)
Madabhinnamidam (it is not at all different from me) Tantraloka III.280

This is really the state of universal love, where one feels one’s unity with all, a characteristic of the liberated soul. Abhinavagupta presents the theory of abhasavada (appearance) under the heading sambhavopaya or icchopaya, which leads easily to pure consciousness.

Source Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume V – page 125 – IHRF
The Upanishads (1996) Sri Aurobindo – Lotus Press Michigan.




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