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Overview of the Pratyabhijnahrdayam

Overview of the Pratyabhijnahrdayam

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Published by: Vishnu Arya on Dec 30, 2012
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Overview of the Pratyabhijnahrdayam
Overview of the
 During the time this philosophy was being formulated, from the 9th to the 11th centuries, the sagesof 
Kashmiri Saiva 
developed a number of different philosophical schools based on older, revealedtexts, called
. They did not call it ―
Kashmir Saivism 
.‖ This is a modern term we use to refer to
all these expressions of philosophical activity. They were originally called
(scripture). There were three different sects, or 
, active in Kashmir during thatperiod: the
Kuala, the Trika 
, and the
as well as the two truly native Kashmiri schools,the
and the
. Because Ksemaraja lived toward the end of this two hundred year period, he received the benefit of all these points of view
and he included them in his summarywork, the
(The Heart of Recognition) was composed by Ksemaraja, a disciple of  Abhinava Gupta. It is a distillation of the
composed by Uptaladeva from
which the ―Recognition School‖ gets its name.
is a dense,intellectually challenging and highly philosophical work, which contains arguments, counter-arguments, discussion, and reasoning that interprets the main doctrines of the
Saiva Tantra 
system tothe logical reason of man. Ksemaraja did a great service to this lineage by writing a short work
plus his own commentary (
) that clearly and beautifullysummarized the Recognition teachings, as he put it, for readers who are spiritually inclined, but nottrained in the rigorous discipline of logical philosophy.
The word ―
means re-cognition. It is usually translated as The Heart of Recognition
recognition of one’s own deepest nature, the heart of one’s being. In
Kashmir Saivism 
, the awarenessof the divinity of our own nature, of our heart, is called
The individual self, or 
, isdivine, but we have forgotten our real nature and identify with this psycho-spiritual mechanisminstead. The teaching is meant to enable us to recognize our real nature, to bring us to the truththat our real self is none other than
and to suggest to us the spiritual discipline by which we can
attain ―at
ment‖ with Him.
 The act of 
spoken of by the
sages, and particularly by the tenth-century sageUptaladeva, who is the founder of the
school, is something more than an act of mentalrecall or perception. The
that Uptaladeva describes means coming to the awareness of your own divine consciousness and, in that awareness, understanding that this sensibility has alwaysbeen with you. This is not a thought, but an immediate certainty
a sense of familiarity or rightness.
arises where the two experiences: the knowledge of the Lord as the supreme power and
the awareness of one’s own Self, are unified in one’s experience: ―Certainly, I am that very Lord.‖ In
the same vein, we could say that the purpose of studying the
is tohave
, to recognize one’s own Self as God. The experience is gloriously luminous and
brimming with ecstasy.
Why We Study Sacred Texts
Why study this sacred text at all? Swami Shantananda quoted a
in an unknown source as
saying: ―From the womb is the source of scripture –
scripture is the womb.‖ Divinity is not only the
universal mother or father, not only the creator of the world, but also the fount from which scripturesprings, but the power contained in sacred texts is itself a form of revelation
a key to understandingGod and His creation. Therefore, everything is contained in God
our own Self, everything we are isalready there. This means that when the time is right,
will unfold of its own accord.
In other words, on our spiritual quest, nothing needs to be rushed or pushed. The effort that is mostadvantageous for 
is to study, to learn, and to apply
to put into action the teachings of thosescriptural texts that explain the very meaning of 
which is a term that denotes both thespiritual path and the spiritual practices we employ as we move along that path.Contemplation of a scripture can serve as a vantage point from which to view what happens to us, atouchstone to hold on to through difficult moments, and as a foundation for understanding that canhelp us turn our experiences of life into knowledge and that knowledge into wisdom and joy.Experience means very little without understanding. It is for this reason that we listen to the teachingsof the words of great beings and read the scriptures, turning the teaching over in our mind, comparingthem to our own experience. In some ways, this intellectual knowledge is even more important thaninnate knowledge because once we understand the nature of our own being, we can always make
right effort to experience it; but without that understanding, even if we have experience, we won’t
cherish it
in time we may not even be able to remember that it happened.Image of ancient manuscript of the HOR
Introduction and Opening of the Pratyabhijnahrdayam
Om namo mangala-
 Om. Reverence to the One who is the embodiment of auspiciousness.
The Heart of the Doctrine of Self-recognition
Lord Ksemarāja
 Reverence to the Divine, who constantly performs the five Acts of (creation, preservation, re-absorption, concealment, and revelation)
and who, by so doing, reveals the ultimate reality of one’s
own Self, which is nothing but the Joy of Awareness. || 1 ||

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