Overview of the
During the time this philosophy was being formulated, from the 9th to the 11th centuries, the sagesof
developed a number of different philosophical schools based on older, revealedtexts, called
. They did not call it ―
.‖ 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
. 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
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
, 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
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
, to recognize one’s own Self as God. The experience is gloriously luminous and
brimming with ecstasy.
Why We Study Sacred Texts