Elements of Kaśmir Śaivism mentioned in ‘Amaraugha-śāsana’ of Gorakṣanāth

Right at the beginning of the text “Amaraugha-śāsanaGorakṣanāth describes various processes, connected with different types of Śakti. The highest ultimate space (parama-sukha) could be acquired via ūrdhva-śaktinipātāna (descent of the upper Śakti), adhaḥ-śaktikuñcanā (folding of the lower Śakti) and madhya-śaktiprabodhena (awakening of the middle Śakti). Further, Gorakṣanāth tells about a practice named ṣaḍadhvagā-sāraṇā (unfolding of six flows), these ṣaḍadhvagās are also described in Trika texts. I’ll briefly explain what that practice is about. Bindu and a tendency to create are manifested through tension of nāda, which is generated by Śiva, playing with Śakti. Then Śiva manifests himself in the forms of vācaka (he who manifests speech) and vācya (what is manifesting), which are designated as arthas (objects). Such self-manifestation of Śiva has three levels: para (supreme), sūkṣma (subtle) and sthūla (gross), each of whom are divided in two, the one where vācaka (subject) prevails and the other, where vācya (objectivity) prevails. On the para level the subject is vārṇa (mātrikas) and the object is kalā (aspects of creation). On the whole, different mātrikas cover certain kalāsvārṇa क्ष corresponds to nivṛtti-kalāvārṇas ह to ट correspond to pratiṣṭhā-kalāvārṇas ञ to घ correspond to vidyā-kalāvārṇas ग ख and क are located in śāntā-kalāvārṇas from visarga to अ are located in śāntyatīta-kalā. Further, mantras and their manifestations as 36 tattvas are located on the sūkṣma level. Pada (word-forms) and manifested worlds of bhuvan are located on the sthūla level. A considerable amount of different mantras, padas and worlds are described in texts. All in all these elements have a match for each other, Śiva manifests them as Macrocosm, whereas they are presented in us as a microcosmic structures. A practice, where these elements are used, is given in “Vijñānabhairava-tantra”:

भुवनाध्वादिरूपेण चिन्तयेत्क्रमशोऽखिलम्।
स्थूलसूक्ष्मपरस्थित्या यावद् अन्ते मनोलयः॥ ५६॥

bhuvanādhvādirūpeṇa cintayetkramaśo’khilam |
sthūlasūkṣmaparasthityā yāvad ante manolayaḥ || 56 ||

It is necessary to contemplate dissolution from bhuvan etc. to all adhvas, from the gross level (sthūla) to the subtle (sūkṣma), and further, to the supreme level (para) and to achieve the dissolution of the mind in the end.

Mudrās from Nātha texts and Tāntric mudrās

Such mudrās as karaṅkiṇi, krodhinī, bhairavī, lelihānā and khecarī belong to the same system. The basis of this system is khecarī-mudrā, and the other four are in fact various aspects of khecarī-mudrā. These mudrās are mentioned in 32nd āhnika (5-6) of ‘Tantrāloka’ as a manifestation of khecarī-mudrā, and altogether they described as a principle (प्रतिबिम्बोदयो pratibimbodayo), reflection of divine awareness between a subject and an object(s). The practice of these five mudrās is mentioned in a famous ‘Vijñāna Bhairava Tantra’ (dhāraṇā 54) and in a number of other texts, such as, for instance, ‘Mahārtha Manjarī.’ Nāthas attribute ‘Mahārtha Manjarī’ to Gorakṣanāth, as the text identifies Maheshvarananda and Gorakṣanāth as authors. Also, these five mudrās are connected with Kuṇḍalinī Śakti, through its awakening by ritual sexual practices, ascending over five centres in the microcosm of a practitioner, starting from ‘kanda’ in a lower part of a body to bhrūmadhya. While Kuṇḍalinī ascends, these mudrās proceed as follows: karaṅkiṇi, krodhinī, bhairavī, lelihānā and in bhrūmadhyakhecarī. That practice may include both inner and objective awareness. Also, many texts state that these mudrās reveal different perfections. Karaṅkiṇi is translated as ‘a carcass’. This mudrā gives an experience of ‘jñāna-siddhi’ – the knowledge of conventionality of external form, because there is a divine dimension behind it. ‘Krodhinī’ means destructive qualities of Bhairava or Bhairavī, when tattva of a Deity, presented as devouring fire of a mantra, consumes basic elements of creation. Bhairavī-mudrā shows the unity of internal and external spaces, feeling of their interflow, which is an analog to śāmbhavī-mudrā in Tantra, described in many Tāntric sources and in ‘Amanaska Yoga’ of Gorakṣanāth as “an unblinking outward gaze” (with simultaneous inner awareness). Bhairavī-mudrā grants melāpa-siddhi, which is a realisation of unity between consciousness and outer space, or between Bhairava and Yoginī. Lelihānā-mudrā means the consumption of neсtar ‘kulāmṛita’. This mudrā gives śakta-siddhi, practically it’s an enhanced form of bhairavī-mudra. Khecarī-mudrā grants a state of immersion into the omnipresent space of appeasement, which reveals śāmbhava-siddhi. Five chakras in microcosmic system of human being can be found in many early Tāntric traditions and their texts: in the 29th Chapter of ‘Tantrāloka’, where they are mentioned in connection with eight vyomas; in Kubjikā Tantras, also in texts of Gorakṣanāth (e.g. ‘Gorakṣa-purāṇa’). Many similarities about such sort of practices can be found in texts of Gorakṣanāth and many other Nātha Yogins, as in the title of Tāntric mudrās, as well as in their essential reference points. The fact that yoga texts say that of all yogic mudrās khecarī-mudrā is the fundamental (essential) is not accidental. Guruji Mithileś Nāth ji told me once that Tantra is a nutrition environment for Nātha Yogins, it served as ‘nourishment’ for yogic life of Nāthas. But of course, there is a vast amount of detailing in Tantrism, sacred use of Sanskrit alphabet, it’s phonetics, including mentioned mudrās and other methods. However, it’s impossible to examine all these subtle details in a short article, they bound with secrecy and a certain level of a relationship (confidence, devotion) between a disciple and a Guru.