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Kashmir Shaivism View On Living Beings – Jiva

In many aspects, the concept of a living self in Kashmir Shaivism comes very close to that of Vedanta. According to the Pratyabhijna (recognition) school, the bound self is infinite consciousness, even though it experiences certain limitations due to maya (illusion) and its five veils (pancha kancucka).

In order to be liberated, the self should ‘recognize’ itself as the Supreme Lord. In a parable by Utpaladeva, the self is likened to a woman who is already in love with Ishwara even before meeting him directly; for quite some time Ishwara comes to visit  the self secretly as her lover, but she can only attain bliss, can only partake of his freedom, when he is ultimately recognized. Then self-awareness manifests itself as a shimmering, pulsating radiance, as a sparkling, scintillating rhythm of perception, or – in some Kashmir schools – as the essential nature of Universal Speech.