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Teachings From Tantraloka Of Abhinavagupta

A small collection of teaching from Tantraloka of Abhinavagupta.

Shiva and Shakti are identical, the difference being just in name (Tantraloka, commentary I.159).

Abhinavagupta accepts the universal and absolute pure consciousness as the only given reality and establishes Shakti (the primordial energy principle) as the very essential nature of such Supreme Reality.

The aspect of the pure and perfect I-consciousness is His static aspect in which He is known as Shiva and the aspect of His phenomenal manifestation through the five divine activities (creation, sustenance, destruction, dissolution and blessings) is His dynamic aspect in which He is known as Shakti. Shiva is thus the basic eternal Reality and Shakti is the nature of such Absolute Reality.

Shiva brings about the manifestation of the world by means of His svatantrya (Shakti) or absolute autonomy by which he effects all changes without undergoing any change in Himself. (Tantraloka III.195-196)

The world is abhasa (pratibimba) projected or reflected in the mirror of cosmic consciousness. Just as earth, water, etc., are reflected in a clean mirror without being mixed, so also the entire world of objects appears together in the one Universal Consciousness (Tantraloka, III.4)

If the Ultimate Reality did not manifest, it would no longer be consciousness or Self, but something like an object or non-Self. (Tantraloka, III.100)

All gods, knowledge, disciplines, mystic circles, tridents, mystic circular diagrams are normally present in the body. Beyond this there is no other place which could be found suitable for perfect worship (Tantraloka XXIX. 171-172)

In order to obtain liberation, one should have proper Deeksha (initiation) from an able guru. Through the power of grace of such a guru, a sadhaka may obtain a secret mantra, which leads to liberation (Tantraloka IV.59, XIII. 158, XVI. 269-270, XXVIII.193). However, to achieve this, proper japa and true bhavana (contemplation) are required. As japa is used in its real sense, so is the bhavana applied to one’s essential self (Tantraloka I.90).

Moksha is realization of one’s true nature (Tantraloka I.156).